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Testing for ADHD: Is it Depression or ADHD?

image Symptoms of depression commonly co-occur with ADHD and focusing difficulties. Because of this, testing for ADHD should always consider the connection between the two. Is it ADHD or is it depression?

For one, it’s important to know that symptoms of depression can often be secondary to unmanaged signs and symptoms of ADHD. If you’re consistently having trouble meeting your expectations, it makes sense that you may experience pretty significant feelings of discouragement and sadness.

On the other hand, depression can sometimes cause ADHD-like symptoms. That is, having trouble focusing may be secondary to unmanaged signs and symptoms of depression. Individuals in this category tend to have a little black cloud over their head that isn’t easily explained; there’s no direct context to their sadness.

To complicate things even more, it is not uncommon to have ADHD and symptoms of depression that are unrelated to the ADHD.

Complications aside, there are some key differences that help us hone-in on the appropriate diagnosis. For example, bouts of depression are often episodic, while ADHD symptoms are ongoing. So, if you’re having difficulty focusing as a consequence of depression, it is likely that you haven’t had pervasive, lifelong focusing difficulties.

As you can see, seeking an appropriate diagnosis can be tough when both symptoms of ADHD and depression are in the picture. There’s a lot of detective work that needs to be done! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, this is why it’s so important to seek a thorough assessment with a professional that truly knows what ADHD is and what it is not.

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