View Full Version : What's the difference between ADHD & depression

10-21-07, 10:20 PM
Having ADHD and suffered from depression, how would you seperate clinical depression vs. the depression from undiagnosed ADHD?

10-22-07, 11:02 AM
I would think someone examining a person's case history would be able to better distinguish between depression alone and ADD with depression...whether someone has always ADD symptoms or whether someone has a new set of symptoms that resemble ADD i would think would help distinguish b/w the two.

Matt S.
10-22-07, 12:24 PM
I would say that the symptoms of AD/HD are mood congruent in the case of clinical depression, which is also episodic, so when there isn't a depressive episode present and a person still presents as having AD/HD then it is both, but if the AD/HD symptoms remit when a person isn't depressed then it is purely depression related.

10-22-07, 01:03 PM
I suffered from depression last year around this time. Talking to my therapist helped me a lot to see through some of the struggles I was having at work. It also helped me see how my past shaped my current self.

During this time I started taking Prozac for the depression. I really don't think it helped me out a whole bunch but it helped me get back on track at work and home. We added Wellbutrin to the mix because the Prozac left me feeling "meh, whatever" in the sex department.

Fast forward to February of this year. I was forgetting to take the meds half the time but I was feeling okay. I'd been discussing the possibility of my son having ADD due to difficulties at school. Gary told me I have ADD and I was floored!!! He thought I knew; I didn't. depression was caused by undiagnosed ADD. I'd been able to plug along all these years but finally things came crashing down. Once I worked my way out of the hole and got a proper dx, life really turned around for me. I'm not taking any meds at this time for depression or ADD.

I think that if it's true depression then it never truly goes away (or it takes a long time to work through). It can be held at bay with meds and therapy (I'm using my best friend as a point of reference). But I think that once ADD/ADHD is dx'd and treated the depression should lift.

10-22-07, 01:39 PM
One of the differences would be the fact that people are not born depressed however we are born ADD. The traits may express them selves differently as we mature however they will still be ADD traits - the diagnostic criteria states that symptoms of ADD should be evident by the age of seven, how ever depression would appear later in life as one struggles to deal with their ADD in a non-ADD world.

10-22-07, 01:46 PM
Good question.

re: 5
I don't think i was 'born ADD'. I believe in the toxin hypothesis and developmental neurobiological factors. Brains are just so sensitive in babies and kids (and adults too).

10-22-07, 01:57 PM
i believe i was born ADD. my dad has it, although not as extreme as i do, and i think i inherited it from him. dad's brother, however, has symptoms more relatable to mine though. things growing up can exacerbate the symptoms though.
i don't think people are born depressed either, but some people when they're born, with their chemical make-up, are probably more prone to depression than others.

At Heart
10-22-07, 03:42 PM
Hi Michiko74,

I am not sure exactly what your question is. It would help if you clarified a few things. First, have you been diagnosed with depression? Have you been diagnosed with ADHD? If you have not (which is what the end of your question seems to convey), what makes you think you have ADHD?

The end of your question seems to state that undiagnosed ADHD causes depression? I do not think that ADHD and depression are related, as they are entirely separate diagnoses and diseases. I think that everyone has "down" days, and can feel depressed, however, that is entirely different from a diagnosis of clinical depression. What symptoms are you having (or assuming this is not yourself that you are talking about)?

ADHD is something that can be treated with medication, or it can even be "outgrown" (or essentially disappears as we age, for some lucky people). However, it is not something we have a "cure" for. We do know that both diseases run in families.

Did that help answer your question?

10-22-07, 04:48 PM
At Heart, your statement, "The end of your question seems to state that undiagnosed ADHD causes depression? I do not think that ADHD and depression are related, as they are entirely separate diagnoses and diseases. I think that everyone has "down" days, and can feel depressed, however, that is entirely different from a diagnosis of clinical depression." It struck me the wrong way.

From talking to my therapist and reading the "Driven to..." books, depression can be caused by undiagnosed ADD/ADHD. To have your life spiral downward for no apparent reason like mine was, it's horrible. But once I got my dx, talked with my therapist, talked with close friends and family who have experience with ADD (either professionally or personally), did research and reading into ADD, I can honestly say the veil was lifted from my eyes.

However, if it's a clinical depression, an ADD dx isn't going to suddenly make things better. I just know my depression was situational versus clinical.


At Heart
10-22-07, 05:33 PM
Hi KP,

I guess what I was suggesting is that the fact that you are not diagnosed does not cause depression - however, the fact that you have symptoms that you can not control can be depressing. Every situation is different. I have been undiagnosed for years, yet am not depressed because of it. My daily life, as well as my relationships have suffered because of my undiagnosed ADHD, yet I don't think there is a direct correllation between ADHD and depression, or more accurately, I do not think there is a causual relationship between the two. ADHD is not something you develop in adulthood, it is something that was always there. Yes, I believe that ADHD symptoms (procrastination, inattention, etc) can be depressing when you do not know how to deal with them.

I was not trying to upset or offend anyone, and hopefully the OP will come back and let us know exactly what they were trying to ask.

10-22-07, 06:53 PM
At Heart, I hear you :). *Mwah!*

10-22-07, 08:20 PM
Best answer would be to see a doctor. They have years of training and would be able to tell the difference. More specficially a psychiatrist.

10-24-07, 08:04 PM
My psychologist said my depression was brought on by my undiagnosed ADD, but the depression just didn't seem to go away. So we tried adding Welbutrin to my Adderall and the results were great. Now I just have to remember to fill my perscription when I'm supposed to so that I don't run out and have to start all over again.:o

So to answer your question I would say that you need to speak to your doctor and he/she can help you find out if it's clinical depression or depression from undiagnosed ADHD.


10-25-07, 02:47 AM
Similarities and Differences Between ADHD Subtypes ( )

Children in the different groups did not differ in how often they were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Children with the combined type or inattentive type were more likely to be depressed than children with the hyperactive/impulsive subtype.
***End Quote

~underling mine~

Learning discoveries,org (

Research has repeatedly shown that ADHD is often accompanied by other brain-related problems. Major depression, bipolar disorder (manic depression), anxiety disorders, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and Tourette’s Syndrome (tic disorder) are all found more commonly in both children and adults with ADHD (Biederman, 1993, Hornig 1998).
***End Quote

10-29-07, 08:18 AM
Been goin thro the whole the dx thing since last January...Have finally had some tests and assessment with a team of NHS Psychiatrist, a Psychologist and soon a speech and Language therapist(seeing the therapist next week infact)
Eventhough i done these tests which proved my workin memory is non-existancing...the team want to put me on PROZAC...for 6 months...which i dont really want to do as i'm already feel i'm on another planet...any advice cos i dont ever feel depressed or am I??