ADHD Home > ADHD and Depression

How Do the Two Conditions Differ?

Oftentimes, it can be difficult for parents to tell the difference between symptoms of ADHD and depression, especially when hyperactivity components of ADHD are not involved. There are, however, differences between the two. For example, symptoms of depression not seen in ADHD include:
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Depressed mood
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, and being "slowed down"
  • Feeling that bad things will happen
  • Talking more slowly.
Other the other hand, some ADHD symptoms not typically seen with depression include feeling:
  • Disorganized
  • Overwhelmed
  • Anxious
  • Out of control.

ADHD, Depression, and Other Conditions

Research has shown that compared to children who just have ADHD, children with depression and ADHD tend to be more anxious, having a higher frequency of generalized anxiety disorder and social phobia. They also appear to have even more impairment in social settings and at school. However, children with depression and ADHD appear less likely to develop substance abuse, repeat a grade, or get suspended from school.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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