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“Do I Have ADHD or Depression?”: The Surprising Symptom Overlaps

 

At surface level, one might not see the similarities between the two mental conditions. Depression, connotedly, makes people less energetic, while ADHD has a connotation of making people “too” energetic. They seem like polar opposites. Yet, with the symptom overlaps, you might be asking yourself, “Do I have ADHD or depression?” The answer could be “both.”

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Stats on ADHD and Depression

Adults with ADHD are more likely to develop depression, studies show – 2.7 times more likely to be exact. This makes sense when one considers how isolated someone can feel because of their differing abilities. Because of the overlapping symptoms (detailed later in the article), it can be difficult to discern whether or not depression is present in an individual. ADHD can disguise it.

 

Symptoms of ADHD

You know yourself better than anyone. Think back on your daily activities and compare your actions to the list below. If you have trouble remembering your actions during the day, consider starting a mindfulness journal to help you with this exercise. Here are some of the symptoms you may experience if you have ADD or ADHD:

  • Inability to focus
  • Frequent Distractions
  • Excess energy
  • Fidgetiness
  • Disorganization
  • Forgetfulness (May impact personal hygiene)
  • Decline in performance in work or school
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Problems connecting with other people
  • Digestion problems
  • Loss of appetite

Symptoms of Depression

With depression, your symptoms may seem easier to spot than ADHD (unless you have both, in which case ADHD can disguise depression). Here are some of the symptoms you may experience if you have depression:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or passions
  • Disconnection from others
  • Forgetfulness
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Restlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Digestion problems
  • Change in appetite or weight fluctuation
  • Trouble focusing

The Overlapping Symptoms

If one considers all of the above symptoms, the overlaps are fairly apparent. Both people with ADHD and depression experience a change in appetite, troubles sleeping, restlessness, disconnection from others, forgetfulness and trouble focusing – just to highlight a few of the similarities.

So, Do I Have ADHD or Depression?

Regardless of the overlapping bullets, no online article will replace the expert advice and guidance of a doctor. Make an appointment with your general physician, talk to them about your symptoms and see what they advise.

Holistic Approaches to ADHD and Depression

Whether you have ADHD or depression, there are some holistic approaches that could help in either case. For example, changing your diet may calm or ignite certain neurotransmitters in your brain that could quell some of your symptoms. Regularly scheduled exercise – at least twice a week, for 30-minute intervals – has also been known to alleviate some symptoms. It can even help with symptoms you didn’t even know you had!

If you’re ready to take your physical and mental health to the next level, reach out to the personal trainers at Special Strong. Whether you enjoy working out one-on-one or in a group setting, we’ve got something for everyone. Schedule your consultation with a personal trainer today.


Special Strong provides fitness and nutrition for special needs children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other disabilities. Through our online training platform, we also provide special needs fitness certification courses for personal trainers and service providers who want to work autism and other disabilities.

GET RESOURCES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS

Symptoms of Depression

With depression, your symptoms may seem easier to spot than ADHD (unless you have both, in which case ADHD can disguise depression). Here are some of the symptoms you may experience if you have depression:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or passions
  • Disconnection from others
  • Forgetfulness
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Restlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Digestion problems
  • Change in appetite or weight fluctuation
  • Trouble focusing

The Overlapping Symptoms

If one considers all of the above symptoms, the overlaps are fairly apparent. Both people with ADHD and depression experience a change in appetite, troubles sleeping, restlessness, disconnection from others, forgetfulness and trouble focusing – just to highlight a few of the similarities.

So, Do I Have ADHD or Depression?

Regardless of the overlapping bullets, no online article will replace the expert advice and guidance of a doctor. Make an appointment with your general physician, talk to them about your symptoms and see what they advise.

Holistic Approaches to ADHD and Depression

Whether you have ADHD or depression, there are some holistic approaches that could help in either case. For example, changing your diet may calm or ignite certain neurotransmitters in your brain that could quell some of your symptoms. Regularly scheduled exercise – at least twice a week, for 30-minute intervals – has also been known to alleviate some symptoms. It can even help with symptoms you didn’t even know you had!

If you’re ready to take your physical and mental health to the next level, reach out to the personal trainers at Special Strong. Whether you enjoy working out one-on-one or in a group setting, we’ve got something for everyone. Schedule your consultation with a personal trainer today.


Special Strong provides fitness and nutrition for special needs children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other disabilities. Through our online training platform, we also provide special needs fitness certification courses for personal trainers and service providers who want to work autism and other disabilities.

GET RESOURCES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS