ADHD Can Lead to Childhood Depression - But Is a Different Medical Condition - By: Stephen Daniels
Chronic depression not only steals joy from the lives of adults, but also affects children as young as 8 or 9. Sadly, childhood depression is sometimes misdiagnosed as ADHD or a variety of other common disorders associated with youth. Treating clinical depression as ADHD is detrimental to the health of a child and is about more than just helping them through a tough time - it is about finding depression treatment that can deal with a chemical imbalance in the brain while working with the child to overcome behavioral and emotional distress.
Sadly, childhood depression and ADHD are common in children today. A child with hyperactive disorder symptoms may be extremely energetic at times, impulsive, distracted, and have issues sitting still, listening, or giving attention to a specific activity. A depressed child on the other hand will in most cases have a noticeable lack of joy and energy. He or she will show reduced interest in former hobbies and activities, a diminished ability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, and the affliction may be accompanied by weight fluxuation and insomnia.
Common symptoms between the two syndromes, such as the inability to concentrate, outbursts and a sense of restlessness, sometimes lead to misdiagnosis of one for the other. In some cases a child with ADHD will also develop emotional problems such as depression, due to the impacts of ADHD on his social and family life. ADHD and depression treatments are quite different, so it is important that proper diagnosis comes early.
There are many components to an established ADHD treatment, and each child should be assessed by a mental health professional. However, the most effective treatment usually involves a multi-disciplinary approach that includes parent and child education about the condition, thorough behavior treatments such as establishing healthy rules and routines, relaxation training, cognitive therapy, and medication.
Depression treatment is based on psychotherapy or "talk therapy", as well as medication to address the serotonin and dopamine imbalances that are associated with the affliction. Both ADHD and chronic clinical depression are associated with specific chemical imbalances in the brain. However, medication can have side effects, and should be taken under the close supervision of a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. If a child's psychological symptoms include severe mood swing, feeling "out of control", or thoughts of suicide, is time to consult a mental health professional as soon as possible.
Childhood depression is the number three cause of death in children due to suicide. It is important for parents to know that a child might show symptoms as young as six months old, including a sad or expressionless face, tantrums, and lack of interest in parents or peer activity. Fortunately, there are proven treatments for this affliction. If your child is suffering, it is time to find a mental health professional who works with children. With the right treatment, your child can be smiling again.
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