What You Should Treat First
“I would not go after ADHD and primary depression at the same time,” says Lenard Adler, M.D., director of the adult ADHD program at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “Work first on the condition that causes the greater impairment. Problems raised by ADHD are real, but depression can be life-threatening.”
Antidepressants that aim to boost levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and/or norepinephrine are the primary treatment for severe depression. Your doctor may also prescribe an antidepressant if mild to moderate depression persists, despite lifestyle changes and effective treatment for your ADHD.
Most antidepressants work well alongside ADHD stimulant meds, as well as with the nonstimulant Strattera (atomoxetine), though minor adjustments may need to be made. Wellbutrin (bupropion) is an antidepressant that can also be useful for ADD.
Most of the time, depression improves substantially with the first antidepressant tried. If it doesn’t work, a second one probably will. About half of those who take antidepressants achieve complete relief of depressive symptoms.
Next: Do-It-Yourself Relief