— Podcast

#28: ADHD and depression

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Many children with ADHD also have other issues. This is called comorbidity. It may mean that they suffer from ADHD and depression, or ADHD and anxiety.

Understanding that your child may be suffering from more than one issue is helpful as your doctor or therapist may recommend treatment for those issues. You may feel that taking time to treat another issue means your child may not be getting the ADHD help they need.

When a doctor or therapist sees a client, they look at all the issues and will make recommendations on the issue they think need to be addressed first. The recommendation to deal with another issue first does not mean that help for ADHD is being put on the shelf. By focusing on the issue that is causing the most difficulty in everyday life and creating change in that area, you’ll notice that an improvement in all behavior.

It’s always important to make sure you and your therapist/doctor are on the same page with treatment and why that treatment is recommended. It’s not helpful if a therapist or doctor isn’t keeping parents informed of what they are working on. Or if a parent isn’t open about what is happening at home.

Because ADHD and depression occur together frequently, it’s important to know what depression in children looks like as symptoms of depression may manifest differently in children than in adults. When a child is unable to function in school or at home, it can lead to feelings of depression and self-esteem issues. Having depression awareness will allow parents to take a look at their actions and if they are making the situation worse.

Parents have options when dealing with ADHD and depression. The behavior skills on Smarter Parenting are one facet of help available to parents.

For additional information about ADHD and depression or full show notes, visit: https://www.smarterparenting.com/adhd-parenting-podcast/

Episode Transcript

Well, hello everyone. I am super excited to announce that Smarter Parenting will begin releasing two podcasts every week, from now until the end of the year. We’re doing this because there is so much information that we want to share with you. This will include podcasts that I present information in, and also podcasts where we have guests. So tune in and pay attention because we have a lot to share with you.

This is episode 28.

Smarter Parenting welcomes you to our podcast series, The Parenting Coach for ADHD. Here to heal and elevate lives is your parenting coach, Siope Kinikini.

Hi everybody, how is it going? Hopefully, everybody’s doing well. You know what, I am doing fantastic this day. There is actually a lot of good things that are happening in the world, and specifically in the world of helping parents with children who struggle with ADHD. I’ve appreciated the people who’ve reached out, and have asked for additional information from Smarter Parenting, and also those who have reached out who wanted to do some coaching. If you are one of those parents that are interested in doing some coaching, feel free to look on the website. There is a place where you can log in, and sign-up, and we can do some online coaching. We’ll send you a questionnaire and you can fill it out, and let us know specifically what areas you want to talk about, and specific issues that you’re focused on.

Because ADHD is so broad, and so wide, there’s a lot of things that we could talk about, and it falls under this umbrella of ADHD. There’s so many issues that we can address. Specifically with ages that we’re dealing with, because it does manifest slightly differently in different ages, and with different kids, and with different genders. I mean, it just is one of those things that requires a little more focus. So, when you jump in, and if you sign-up for the coaching, we can fill out that information and that will give us some more focused attention on what your needs are. And that is a part of me that is super excited about what I do here, because that’s why I’m in this field. I became a therapist in order to help people. That was my goal, and to help as many people as possible, this has been a wonderful platform to do that with Smarter Parenting.

It’s great. I mean, everything is going really, really great, and we here at Smarter Parenting are so grateful for those who have reached out, and for the ability to actually help parents around the world. So, continue to do that. If you listen to the podcast, share it with family, or friends, or anyone you feel may be interested in this podcast, or can benefit from it. And, if you want some coaching, feel free to contact us, right?

Today, what I wanted to talk about, is an issue that pops up quite a bit, and it’s something that professionals deal with quite a bit as well. Now, when somebody brings in a child to work with me on ADHD, the reality is ADHD is one thing, but they tend to have another issue going on, more than one. And most parents know this. A lot of people don’t, and they just think, “Oh, you just have ADHD and that’s all you are dealing with. There’s nothing more to that.” But the reality is, is there’s more to that. There are more things that are involved in that. And so, being aware that your child may have ADHD, but also a comorbid, that’s the word that they use in the field, comorbid, which means that it’s in conjunction or, in addition to, what you have is an issue. That could be ADHD and anxiety, ADHD and depression, ADHD and whatever else that may be going … trauma.

When somebody comes in and they just tell me, “Oh, we need to be treated for ADHD.” We evaluate, we do an assessment, we see what exactly the issues are, and that will determine how treatment is done. Now, for a professional, when they receive a new client and they’re working through what it is that they are struggling with, we have to balance out the additional issues that are present. So, if somebody comes to the office with an ADHD diagnosis, and during the course of our interaction with each other, they end up having the additional issue of depression, then I have to weigh, “Which of these two things are causing the most damage, or is most influential in their ability to function on a daily basis?” And based on what is the stronger of the two, will determine which one I will start to treat, or start to address.

Now, that doesn’t mean I put something else on the shelf in order to deal with the main issue. What it does mean, though, is that I have a primary focus to addressing this one issue that we can change, and that is causing the inability to function in a daily way, and then working on the other issue along the way.

This has been a question for a lot of parents because they’re like, “Well, I brought my kid in for ADHD treatment, and then we’re doing something completely different, and treatment is focused on the depression.” Explaining that to parents is something that I think is super important. I think all professionals should sit down with the people that they are serving, and let them know exactly how treatment is being done, what is being done, why it’s being done. Rather than falling back and saying, “Well, I’m the professional. I’ve done this for years, and I know what I’m doing.” Not helpful. Not helpful for anybody.

At the same time, I think it’s always helpful for the parents to provide some input. And we always want to hear what parents have to say, because, again, parents are the experts on their kids. So, doing this nice balance between the two, will help us get the best outcome for the child. Because the reality is, is if somebody is working with your child, and then they go home and the parent is sabotaging. Or the parent is working on something and the therapist is sabotaging. Or the professional is sabotaging what’s happening, then there’s not going to be any type of change that’s happening. You want them to work in conjunction with each other.

Now, in the aspect of depression and anxiety, or depression and ADHD. Sorry, so many issues that are going on, right? I hope you all forgive me. With the issues of ADHD and depression, there is this existing idea that there is a high correlation between the two, so ADHD and depression. Your child may be struggling through depressive bouts and depressive moments, in addition to the ADHD. Whether or not one causes the other is remains to be seen. However, there is a correlation between the two. I mean, a child who’s unable to function at school, or at home, in an effective way. Is constantly being talked to, or being corrected. That tends to lead into self-esteem issues, and may lead to feelings of depression or sadness that may, over time, become overwhelming.

There may be a connection in there that you may want to evaluate how are you interacting with your child, and, “Am I contributing to some of this? And how can I adjust it so I can focus on ways that we can be positive and work through the issues?”

I can already hear some parents, actually, with the question, “So, I can’t correct my child?” No, absolutely. You need to correct your child, and you have to correct your child. But how you correct your child, how you correct your child, is an art. It can be a very useful art if you are able to do it effectively. And luckily, on the Smarter Parenting website, we do have suggestions on how you can do that well. Correcting Behaviors is the name of the skill.

If you jump over there you can see how you can correct a negative behavior, but in a way that’s not demeaning to the self-esteem of the child. And that’s what we want. We want to build relationships, we want them to gain experiences, so they can learn some additional skills on how to deal with things that are happening in their life.

With the depressive feature, we want to just be aware of the severity of the depressive future. We want to know how long has it been going on. We want to know how we’re going to treat it. Are we going to focus on a med management issue to deal with some of the depression? Or are we going to focus on the behavioral, and, of course, as you’ve heard from me a million times, “If you’re going to do med management, you need to add on a behavioral piece to that.” Okay? Don’t just do the med management, because that’s just a one-sided workaround for the issues, and you want something that will last longer.

I just want to be sure that parents are fully aware that they have options in dealing with depression and with ADHD, and that they should be consulting with the professionals they’re working with, or they should look at options if they’re trying to deal with it on their own, multiple ways that they can help their child in dealing with whatever is the most pressing issue.

Now that’s it for me. I hope this was helpful for you. This is great. I am so happy to be able to share this. And again, I’m so grateful for the generosity of the people who make Smarter Parenting, and this ADHD podcast, possible.

So, if you are so inclined, feel free to jump over and make a donation and help us keep this podcast alive, and also reach out to more parents, as we try and expand and help people with anxiety and depression, and multiple issues: trauma, bipolar, there’s just so many things that parents need consistently looking for additional resources and help online.

Hope you have a good one. That’s it for me. Thank you for joining me, and I will talk to you again next time. All right. Bye, bye.


Resources discussed in this podcast

Behavior skill: Correcting Behaviors

Improve ADHD by understanding emotional intelligence


Childhood depression? What does it look like

Podcast Transcript

The transcript text is below. You can also download the PDF file of the transcript here.