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Depression In College Seniors

Question:

My daughter has been stuggling with school the last two years. She has a rigorous work load and also has ADD. She takes Adderall 20 mg 1-2 times a day to help her get the work done. She does not have a boyfriend because they cheat on her. This has left her distrustful of men. She found someone she liked and started a relationship only to find he also cheated.

Every Fall she becomes depressed and, as a result, now takes Prozac but with few results. She has poor time management skills. For example, she is constantly on IM(Instant Message) or on Facebook. She is always acting as counselor to her friends and their screwed up relationships.

I am questioning whether she is giving up on school or if in fact there is truly depression as a diagnosis.

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Answer:

It seems that the primary problem with which your daughter is and always has been coping is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). It is very common for ADD and Depression to go together.

Your daughter is making a fundamental mistake in believing that all that is needed is medication to cure her of ADD and Depression. Adderal and Prozac are excellent medications but are limited in what they can do for her. Let me explain:

The fact that she has ADD means that she is overlooking or not seeing important social cues or clues. When people socialize they are aware of such things as tone of voice, yawns, facial expressions and lots of other types of verbal and non verbal behaviors that transmit lots of information. She is not ignoring this information from people she is with. Rather, she is not focusing her attention on these things because of her ADD. That is why she keeps picking young men who disappoint and leave her. She is unaware of what is really happening when she is with them. This is a common problem for peopl with ADD.

What your daughter needs, in addition to Adderal and Prozac, is psychotherapy to help her learn how to focus her attention on other people. It is not just school and examinations she needs to focus on. ADD pervades everything and that is why ADD people have trouble with relationships of all kinds, even at work. Please be aware and let her know that there is more involved with this than just her studies.

There are Clinical Psychologists and Licensed Clinical Social Workers trained to help adults with ADD. The type of therapy provided is skill oriented, in which the client learns the skills necessary to compensate for and overcome, lack of attention. ADD people need to learn how to listen, look at facial expressions, etc. These skills will help her with her ADD and her Depression both.

Do not doubt her diagnoses or her wishes to complete school Rather, encourage her to get the type of help that will, along with her medicines, will allow her to fully succeed in life.

Best of Luck

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