This one is going to be a little on the short and sweet side because I’m supposed to be doing other work (Hmmm, where have we all heard that before?), but it keeps bouncing around in my head, and that can be just as unproductive as a little writing tangent. So, you’ll have to forgive me if this post does not live up to my usual standard of backing up what I say with links to the original source materials and research evidence. As always, the best ADHD tips I can give is to please DO check up on what I (and others) say about ADD treatments and other ADHD tips.
If you have done much reading about attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder then you know that
- a) Those are both the same thing, I did that for the benefit of searchers
- b) That many adults with ADHD, teens with ADD, and children that have ADHD are frequently diagnosed with other mental health issues in addition to their official diagnosis of attention deficit disorder.
- c) That one of the difficulties in effectively treating ADHD is that certain conditions or issues can overlap each other.
These “add-on” conditions are known by the unfortunate medical term, “co-morbid,” which couldn’t sound worse if you tried. That is mostly because most people do not know the full definition of the word morbid, which is both “of or caused by disease or medical condition,” as well as, “gruesome.”
Note the very important difference between co-morbid conditions, which are those that occur together, but independently from each other, versus, a medical issue that is caused by, or the result of another medical issue. For example, improper insulin balance is NOT co-morbid with diabetes. A person has messed up insulin BECAUSE OF diabetes.
One common co-morbid condition of ADD is depression. Again, depression is NOT caused by ADHD, nor vice versa, it just so happens that the brain biology of people with ADD appears to give rise to depression sometimes as well.
The difficulty of having both depression and ADHD at the same time is that some of the symptoms of ADHD and depression can overlap meaning that while trying to treat and medicate certain issues, one might be barking up the wrong tree, so to speak, by using ADHD medication to help with symptoms that are actually caused by depression in whole or in part.
One symptom of some mild depression is apathy. Apathy, can easily lead to procrastination, which is also a potential symptom of a persons ADHD, particularly for those with the inattentive type of ADD. So, while you pump your body full of Adderall, and talk for hours with your therapist or ADD coach about your procrastination, you might be completely missing the target.
The reason I sought any sort of diagnosis and treatment in the first place was an overwhelming sense of apathy. In fact, I started out being treated for depression and being prescribed various medications for it like Zoloft rather than being diagnosed with adult ADHD. This was partly due to my focusing on the apathy in all of my sessions and either ignoring, not mentioning, or not understanding the potential importance of some of my other “quirks.”
Lately, I have been having trouble not with my focus so much as with my ability to GET GOING ON ANYTHING. Additionally, there have been some very major events happen in my life, including some spectacular failures, to which I had virtually no emotional reaction of any kind. It makes me wonder if it was a mistake to stop investigating the depression or anxiety angles to focus on just the ADD.
No one knows your mind or your body like you do. Unfortunately, our system dictates that you work through expensive, and (rightfully) skeptical middlemen called doctors or therapists to access some of the treatments, medications, and information about most medical conditions, including the ones that deal with your mind. That rules out starting back up the Zoloft or whatever else I was trying.
Now, let’s be clear. I never advocate trying to “get around” your doctor or medical professionals, and I do plan to talk to my guy about my ADHD plus depression hypothesis during our next visit. But, until my current supply of meds and prescriptions runs out, I’m conducting a self-experiment on my theory.
If you are suffering from depression, or think you are, seek professional help immediately. Do not wait based on trying this idea out!
St. John’s Wort is occasionally (and generally wrongly) mentioned as a possible non-prescription therapy for ADHD. This is not surprising as pretty much any herb, natural remedy, or medicine that shows the slightest effect on the brain is eventually promoted as a cure for ADHD and every other mental condition there is. However, real scientific research has shown that St. John’s Wort can be just as effective at treating mild depression as prescription depression medications. In fact, in some research St Johns Wort has been shown to be more effective for treating mild depression cases.
Unfortunately, just like with ADHD, the human mind is a complex and splendored thing. Not everyone responds the same way to every medicine or treatment, especially when we are talking about the brain. However, St. John’s Wort is available everywhere and is not very expensive, so it has a sort of “give it a shot” quality to it. Just keep in mind, St. Johns Wort has only been shown to be effective treatment for MILD depression.
St. John’s Wort is not an instant effect medicine. It must build up in your body, or more specifically in your brain…
The catch is that just grabbing a bottle of St. Johns Wort off the shelf at Whole Foods and throwing a couple down is not going to work. In order to be an effective treatment, you have to get it right. Which is why next up is how to take St. John’s Wort for depression with ADHD ADD.
I am not a doctor. Nothing in this article or on this website should be considered medical advice. All information including dosages, medications, timing, and recommendations and warnings are for general knowledge only and is not medical advice. Consult with a physician before starting any treatment. Drug interactions can be dangerous or unpleasant. Consult a pharmacist or physician about taking any medicine, herbal remedy, or supplement.
Joelle Ruppel says
Instructive article. I enjoyed it very much! Thanks. Keep up the good work, Joelle Ruppel