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Is Depression A Factor In Children With ADD?

Question:

I would like to know if children that suffer from this disorder may also go on to have problems with depression as they get into thier teen years and so on and if so what can they or thier parents do to help them?

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Answer:

An important question was written to me about children with ADD and whether or not they experience depression. The answer is yes, children with ADD can experience depression. The reason for the depression usually has to do with the difficulties these youngsters have with school performance and socialization. Difficulties concentrating on reading and on classroom activities often result in low grades. This combined with problems socializing with other children and experiencing social rejection creates plenty of opportunities for children and teenagers with ADD to experience depression.

There are the two approaches for the treatment of children and adolescents with ADD:

1. Medication to help improve concentration.

2. Coaching or behavioral therapy so that skills for: focusing attention, organizing notebooks and homework, keeping a calendar so as to remember to do things, acquiring listening skills and social interaction, can all be learned.

3. While a lot of this could help reduce depression in these children for those who need medication treatment, there are the anti depressants used in conjunction with ADD medication. However, this is controversial as there is evidence that some children experience suicidal thoughts as a result of using anti depressant medication. While the numbers of children who experienced this problem is rare it does exist and makes the decision to prescribe anti depressants to children and adolescents a serious one.

What parents need to do is be certain that the treating psychiatrist who is medicating the child for ADD is aware of the depression so that the next steps can be discussed and planned.

If a child is not being treated for ADD then they should be evaluated for the condition by a psychologist and referred for the appropriate therapy. In addition, the referral should me made to a psychiatrist who specializes in the medical treatment of ADD, including depression.

 

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