The Toxic Stew of ADHD, Anxiety and Depression

Posted on June 5, 2018

When untreated, ADHD combines with untreated anxiety and depression, and the result is a potent soup of mental health symptoms where it can be hard to pick out the individual ingredients. This can be because many of the symptoms of ADHD, anxiety and depression tend to compound each other. One example could be the lack of motivation where people with ADHD tend to be more reliant on short-term rewards to concentrate and exercise self-control, which means that they tend to struggle with motivation.

However, anxiety and depression can further throw a wrench into motivation. Low motivation and lack of energy are classic depressive symptoms. Meanwhile, anxiety can interfere with motivation by nurturing pessimism, perfectionism, fear of failure and low self-esteem.Therefore, in the toxic stew of ADHD, anxiety and depression, lack of motivation can become subtly flavored with hints of hopelessness and pessimism as well as classic ADHD. When you have other mental health conditions besides ADHD, ADHD and these other conditions don’t exist separately, sticking to their own territory. They team up, interact, and sometimes become hard to distinguish from one another.

There are some implications to this. Firstly, when it comes to diagnosis and treatment, it is important to keep in mind that it can take some time to identify all the individual ingredients contributing to the toxic stew. The other implication is that when you’re immersed in the toxic stew, it can take some time to be able to recognize which flavors come from ADHD and which come from other conditions. If you find yourself thinking that life with ADHD is hopeless and that you don’t ever see how you can thrive with this condition, there is a good chance you have some other ingredients like depression and anxiety in the mix.

Finally, when it comes to treatment, it is not always the case that you end up having to treat every mental health condition to the same extent. This is different for different people. For example, if you have ADHD, anxiety and depression, you might find that effective ADHD treatment combined with therapy makes a significant difference in the anxiety and depression too.


Category(s):Adult ADHD, Anxiety, Depression

Source material from Psych Central


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