Could ADD Be To Blame For My Depression?

January 6, 2012 Jack Smith

My mind is mushy and I’m exhausted. I just went through two hours of testing to determine whether or not I suffer from ADD in addition to depression and anxiety. It was miserable. The quirky questions, memory tests and building blocks made me feel like a knucklehead half the time. Maybe I didn’t perform as poorly as I think I did. Perhaps my usual anxiety is to blame here, and I’m being too hard on myself. That would not shock my wife one bit.

I found some interesting information on anxiety disorders on the HealthyPlace site, like this article, “Anxiety Doesn’t Get Any Respect.” Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.? Did you know they affect some 40 million adults in America alone? That’s stunning to me. At least I’m not alone.

My anxiety can be so severe at times that I wonder if the depression I battle almost daily is really comorbid depression. Could ADD be an underlying problem that exacerbates, maybe even causes, my depression and anxiety? Or do I have that backwards?

Anxiety Looks Like ADD

At least three different doctors have hesitated, even resisted, diagnosing me with ADD. They say that serious anxiety can look a lot like ADD. In other words, the symptoms of ADD that I suffer from may just be the result of my anxious disposition.

Back to today’s testing. I won’t know the results for a week, which, of course, will lead to more anxiety. Parts of the test, like assembling blocks in random formations and having to repeat as many details of different stories read to me, were downright difficult. Some were impossible. I can hardly wait for the results. Not that I want another pill to take. Hardly. I just want to feel better and learn some new coping strategies to keep me more focused, whether I’m diagnosed with ADD or not. Could a diagnosis and treatment of ADD be the key that unlocks an underlying problem that was simply never diagnosed? We shall see.

Share Your Stories

I am equally eager to see if anyone reading this blog can offer their own stories. I wonder how many others with depression also suffer from ADD.
One book that has been recommended to me is “Driven to Distraction,” by Drs. Edward Hallowell and John Ratey. Of course, I haven’t read it yet, but I found some interesting information and excerpts on it that sounded terribly familiar.

I have this problem of getting depressed soon after a big event, like the holidays or after a big success at work, say a presentation that went well despite lots of stress and anxiety about it. Here is what Dr. Hallowell says about that curious phenomenon: "People with ADD commonly complain of feeling depressed, paradoxically, after a big success. This is because the high stimulus of the chase or the challenge or the preparation is over. The deed is done. Win or lose, the adult with ADD misses the conflict, the high stimulus, and feels depressed."

Hmm. That sounds a lot like me. Could it be that I suffer from ADD? In a week, we shall see. Stay tuned.

APA Reference
Smith, J. (2012, January 6). Could ADD Be To Blame For My Depression?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Jack Smith

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