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What is the link between ADHD and depression?

Dr. Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Practitioner

Many individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience symptoms of depression with a low mood. Often, the depression results from years of relationship problems, failed attempts at school or work, and low self-esteem caused by ADHD behaviors. Some people with ADHD have coexisting mood disorders, such as depression, which require a specific diagnosis and treatment by a medical doctor.

Doctors usually prescribe an antidepressant and/or cognitive therapy to treat mood disorders such as depression with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Specifically, antidepressants, such as Norpramin, may benefit the symptoms of depression and ADHD. Other antidepressants, such as Prozac, may be prescribed along with stimulants for ADHD. Some newer antidepressants may benefit people with ADHD and depression, including the drugs Effexor and Wellbutrin. 

Cognitive therapy may benefit people with ADHD and depression by helping them reframe their thoughts and actions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.