Are you concerned that you may have a mental health disorder that’s interfering with your quality of life? And even more than that, it is confusing which one?
Anxiety, depression, and ADHD have some similar features-- all have symptoms of distractibility, fatigue, and agitation, for example.
One day you might be reading an article about anxiety and many of the symptoms listed check the box for what you deal with every day. But then later, a friend tells you she finally got an ADHD diagnosis, and when she describes what she encounters, well...that sounds like it could fit, too.
Here are some good reasons to get a professional diagnosis, and why it’s often tough to tell the difference between depression, anxiety and ADHD:
You May Have More Than One Condition (Or, All Three!)
“Studies find that 80 percent of people with ADHD will have at least one other psychiatric disorder in their lifetime. The two most common are depression and an anxiety disorder,” says Roberto Olivardia, PhD, in his article, “Anxiety? Depression? Or ADHD? It Could Be All Three.”
Olivardia sheds light on how complex mental health diagnosis can be. It’s not as simple as choosing from “the big three.” You could have none, one, two or three of “the big three.” There may be other mental health disorders present besides depression, anxiety and ADHD, too.
The existence of one mental health disorder raises the very real possibility that there could be more than one at work. And if there is more than one disorder present, the severity of the symptoms of each multiply.
“When someone struggles with two conditions, the symptoms of each disorder are more intense,” says Olivardia.
Does Your Disorder Stand Alone or is it Caused by Another?
An additional complexity that requires a professional diagnosis is the cause-and-effect aspect of mental health disorders.
You may have two separate disorders that stand alone, for instance.
Another possibility is that one disorder could be the cause of a different disorder.
For instance, your anxiety disorder could lead to depression. Or, your depression could lead to an anxiety disorder. Your ADHD could lead to anxiety, and so on.
To further complicate matters, you may have a chronic physical-health ailment that results in depression or anxiety.
Depression, Anxiety and ADHD Have Similar Symptoms
Each of the above disorders have some characteristics that are true of all three and, in other cases, at least two of the three.
An example of this is that all three disorders can cause sleep difficulties.
Imagine, then, the challenge of finding good rest if you have more than one of these disorders.
All three diagnoses make it difficult to concentrate and easy to become distracted.
An example of two of these disorders with matching symptoms are the fatigue associated with depression and anxiety.
But what difference does it make?
As you can see, diagnosis of depression, anxiety and ADHD is not a simple, multiple-choice decision.
There are many complex variables to consider that require an evaluation by a trained professional.
And the reason it is so important that we get this right is that treatment for these challenges are different.
Our expert clinicians are skilled at helping you overcome the challenges of anxiety, depression, or ADHD without medication, and want to help you harness your skills and use them maximally. The right treatment is tailored to your particular diagnosis, and needs.
We are ready to help you be more productive and gratified in your work, and more content in your life.