Depression in ADHD College Students

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College is a stressful time for most students. Now some recent studies show that people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) face a higher risk for depression while in college compared to students without the disorder.

Depression is common among college students. In fact, in a nationwide survey of college students, 30 percent said they reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some time within the past year. ADHD is also common – according to National Alliance on Mental Health estimates, ADHD affects about 10 percent of young adults and 25 percent of college students with disabilities.

ADHD and depression can both negatively affect the student’s college experience and academic performance. Students struggling with these disorders may not have the academic and social success they might otherwise enjoy; this is especially true for students who do not feel they have the support of their parents.

Scientists are now investigating the possible links between depression and ADHD in college students. Some are even looking into the importance of parental support as it relates to depression and ADHD in college students.

Studies Investigating Depression in College Students with ADHD

A January 2014 study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders showed that, through depression, ADHD indirectly increases suicidal thoughts. The researchers enrolled 627 psychology students into the study, in which the participants completed an online survey. The authors of the study concluded that depression seems to play a significant role in mediating suicidal thoughts and tendencies in the college student.

College students with ADHD are more likely to experience symptoms of depression, according to one study published by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, compared to students without the disorder. The researcher in that study found that a history of depression prior to entering college could increase the individual’s risk for the condition during college years. The study also shows that students with ADHD reported feeling less support from friends during the college years, but these students did report a greater use of psychological support that could include therapy or medications.

Parental support is also an important factor in the development of depression in college students with ADHD. One study, published in the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, sought to investigate the relationship between the symptoms of depression, ADHD symptoms, and the amount of parental support the student feels he has received from his parents. These researchers concluded that college students who experience symptoms of ADHD also experienced symptoms of depression, and that having supportive parents can decrease the rates of depression.

Support from parents, friends and school mental health programs can help to reduce the onset and severity of symptoms of depression in college students with ADHD.

The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Our outpatient center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need counseling on mental health services, please fill out our contact form or call us at 407-574-5190 for more information.

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