ADHD teens often struggle to cope with their daily lives. More often than not, many end up with depression, which makes their lives even more difficult.
Many a time, obvious depression symptoms go undiagnosed due to overlap with other disorders. For instance, teenagers with a history of depression and a diagnosis of ADHD often find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand and undergo constant mood swings or may withdraw themselves from regular activities.
Further, it should be noted that there are no pervasively common symptoms of depression in an individual. The reasons could be many.
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For instance, an individual might decide to withdraw from an activity in progress because he/she feels different, or might be suffering from low self-esteem. On the other hand, some teens find it difficult to get along with other classmates.
An individual with a history of depression might withdraw due to lack of motivation or suffer from a feeling of disparity.
All these things make it more difficult for parents to deal with their growing teens and at times parents end up having a hard time understanding what is actually going on in their child’s life. Further, not having a complete knowledge on the subject of depression makes it difficult for parents and well-wishers to recognize the obvious symptoms of depression.
Is it Depression or ADHD or Both?
Depression is seen to be more common in teenagers with ADHD than their regular peers. However, the reasons behind the triggering of depression symptoms are unclear.
A few of the possible reasons could be:
- Academic Failures
- Chronic Frustrations
- Complexities in Social Interactions
These things are seen to push an individual to the greater risk of developing depression.
However, the question remains whether these are the glaring signals of ADHD or depression alone.
Careful observation needs to take place to see if treating teens and their ADHD symptoms help improve their symptoms. If not, it is necessary to take steps to treat depression symptoms on par with ADHD treatment.
Genetic links, too, need to be analyzed as depressive symptoms are shown to be hereditary in nature. The risk factor multiplies in teens with ADHD where depression symptoms run in their families. Nevertheless, it is possible for one to have depression and ADHD simultaneously and both of these sets of symptoms need to be given individual care.
Recognizing Symptoms of Depression
Depression is aptly described and written about on the basis of how it appears in adults. However, it is also manifested in teens in large numbers and often manifests in a different way.
A look at the common signs of depression in teens is highlighted below.
Often, teens with signs of depression complain of being unwell. For instance, an individual repeatedly complains of headaches and stomach ache.
A general visit to the physician who sees no reason for constant aches despite consecutive lab tests and subsequent examinations could be the first step in uncovering the visibility of these symptoms.
Anger and Irritability:
Depression is often seen to co-exist with constant sadness, feeling hopeless, and suffering from despair. For instance, these could appear in the form of lethargies in adults while on the other hand, teenagers could suffer from irritability and constant mood swings.
At times, individuals might spend greater amounts of their time being hostile to their peers or having a grumpy attitude.
Being Withdrawn from Social Activities:
Individuals with prolonged depressive symptoms may become socially isolated, resulting in choosing not to take part in any social activity.
On the other hand, some teens might have a few friends but may start avoiding spending time with their well-wishers and family. Teenagers might also start to constantly hunt for new friends while keeping themselves away from any social activities.
Similar to adults, teenagers sometimes suffer from thoughts of being worthless and hopeless. These signs make them more prone to being overly sensitive to critics, which makes it more difficult to deal with rejection or failures.
These worrying signals end up taking away any motivation that is remaining in an individual. If left untreated, these symptoms could lead to further dangerous behaviors such as:
- Substance Abuse
- Running Away
- Risky Behaviors
- Suicide attempts or ideations
Less dangerous but obvious depression symptoms could be:
- Lower self-esteem
- Failing Grades
- Having a worthless or a shameful feeling
If you suspect your teenager might be suffering from depression, it is high time to seek a trained professional’s assistance. Many parents make the mistake of thinking depression symptoms disappear on their own.
Depression symptoms do not go away and sometimes get worse, leading to more complications that could be averted with timely assistance.
If your child is already seeking out professional assistance for his/her ADHD-related diagnosis, it is a good time to start discussing your teenager’s depression problems.
However, if your child is not seeking any medical assistance and you see different behaviors in the attitude of your child, it could be the right time to get an appointment with your doctor.
Take some time to prepare notes about the symptoms that your child is showing in order to explain them to the doctor during your appointment as well as how you believe these things are interfering in the life of your teen.
Although some might argue for the use of antidepressants, it should be noted that these are not meant for teenagers and should never be used.
Antidepressants carry a higher risk when used on teens and may result in undesirable side effects. If your doctor advises medication, always have a thorough discussion about the pros and cons associated with using the recommended medication. Make a note of the different risks that might be triggered when using the medications.
Prolonged use of antidepressants is also seen to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts in depressed youngsters.
Nevertheless, always remind your teen of your presence and help them develop trust to discuss their fears with you. When your children discuss their problems, be more than willing to listen to their worries without being judgmental. Never attempt to minimize their feelings.
Let your children understand you are someone they can seek out to get timely help and support. Have your teen exercise regularly, as regular exercise has been shown to decrease depression symptoms to a considerable extent.