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Treatments for Depression and ADHD: New and Forthcoming Approaches

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November 13, 2023Rising rates of depression — a condition that often accompanies ADHD and other health concerns — have earned well-deserved concern and attention.

Here, Nelson M. Handal, M.D., DFAPA, reviews what we know about major depressive disorder and ADHD, explains the latest treatment options for depression, and touches on alternative treatments and therapies that may hold promise for future use.Q: What do we know about rates of ADHD and comorbid depression and mood disorders?There is significant comorbidity between ADHD, major depressive disorder (MDD), and other mood disorders across all age groups.

About 15% of children and adolescents with ADHD also have MDD, and anywhere from 7% to 17% of youth with ADHD also have bipolar disorder, according to our group’s review of available literature.12 In adults with ADHD, roughly 20% have MDD, and anywhere from 7% to 18% have bipolar disorder.3 About 25% of individuals with bipolar disorder that started in adulthood have ADHD, and the ADHD overlap is much higher — from 80% to 97% — when bipolar disorder begins in childhood.4Females with ADHD are at greater risk — by 2.5 times — for MDD compared to females without ADHD.5 In older adults, ADHD is associated with increased risk for depression.6Q: What explains the relationship between ADHD, depression, and mood disorders?Many factors are at play.

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