ADHD, Depression, and Overload


"I am a single mother to a five-year-old son. I'd like to go to grad school, but I suspect I have both ADHD and depression. Do I need medication first?"


Many of the behavioral symptoms that are used to diagnose ADHD are symptoms also used to diagnose other disorders. Depression is a common co-morbid (co-existing) condition which can further complicate the diagnostic procedure. This is why it takes a clinician who is well trained in the ADHD diagnostic procedure to determine if an individual has the disorder. Not all clinicians are specialists at this.

My advice to anyone who feels like their life is in shambles is to take it one step at a time... and with ADDers, sometimes that means one minute at a time. Since many of us want it yesterday, this is a difficult thing to do. Ask yourself, "What one thing can I do today to make my current situation more manageable?" Continue to ask yourself that each and everyday.

Define what area of your life, if brought under control, would make the greatest amount of difference in how you are able to meet your daily obligations with ease. Begin today with baby steps bringing that under control. If you are unsure how to proceed or what to do, ask for specific advice from several different individuals whose opinion you respect and trust. If you need support and encouragement, ask for it.

There will come a day you can return the favor. If you have taken on too much, then cut bait on some of it and simplify your life until you are in a position to resume those activities.

Many ADDers find that straightening out their financial situation is what would help them out the most. It sounds like this maybe where you would like to start too. Whatever area you decide to tackle first, remember to keep it simple.

Sandy Maynard lives in Washington, DC where she operates Catalytic Coaching. She was instrumental in the development of The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association's Coaching Guidelines and a founding board member for the Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD Coaching (IAAC). Sandy lectures internationally and is a regular contributor to ADDitude.
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