Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological condition that is marked by difficulty paying attention, impulsivity, irritability and forgetfulness. More than 1 in 10 children in the U.S. and four percent of adults are diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Depression Disproportionately Affects ADHD Patients
Some children and adults with ADHD also experience depression according to the University of Chicago. Numerous studies also highlight that adolescents with ADHD are ten times more likely to experience depression than adolescents without ADHD.
The symptoms of ADHD and depression often overlap. Depression is a neuropsychiatric condition marked by a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest. Patients with depression can experience a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in self-esteem, sleep, appetite, energy level, and concentration.
Is there a Causal Link between ADHD and Depression?
Environmental and psychosocial factors may contribute to children with ADHD experiencing depression. Children with ADHD are often overly active, which can lead to poor performance in school, difficulties in social situations, and loss of confidence and self-esteem.
According to the findings in the journal Lancet Psychiatry published online on Feb 15, 2017, recent brain imaging studies show that the brain structures of children with ADHD differ in small but significant ways from the brains of children without ADHD.
These brain scans revealed that five brain regions were slightly smaller in people with ADHD, including three brain areas within a part of the brain called the striatum ― the caudate nucleus, the putamen and the nucleus accumbens.
Patients with depression experience structural changes as well. Imaging studies of the brain structure have shown smaller hippocampal volume with the chronicity of depression correlating to a reduction in volume – a finding also seen in ADHD patients as discussed in CNS Spectrums “Structural changes in the brain in depression and relationship to symptom recurrence” (Feb 2002).
The structures within a section of the brain known as the striatum are involved in the brain’s reward system as well as its processing of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control motivation and pleasure. Dopamine signaling abnormalities and brain structure differences are also present in depression (Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences )
Find the Right Medications with Rxight® Pharmacogenetic Testing
Medications for patients with both ADHD and depression include stimulants and various classes of antidepressants, which affect dopaminergic and serotonergic signaling pathways in the brain. (Psychiatry, Major Depression with ADHD, Apr 2006)
MD Labs’ CLIA-certified Rxight® genetic testing panel is among the most comprehensive available. Its panel includes six commonly prescribed stimulant and non-stimulant ADHD medications, and 26 antidepressant medications across clinically significant antidepressant classes. Over 200 other medication are also tested, and the results are good for life since your genetics don’t change.
Your Insurance May Cover Testing with Rxight®
Many insurance companies now cover Tetrabenazine (Xenazine), Nortriptyline (branded as Pamelor and Aventyl Hydrochloride) and Amitriptyline (branded as Elavil, Endep and Vanatrip), antidepressants within the Rxight® panel.
If you have ADHD and suffer from depression as well, ask your doctor about authorizing the Rxight® Pharmacogenetic Test. Genetic testing with Rxight® enables you and your prescribers to know – preferably ahead of time – which medications may causes potentially dangerous adverse reactions and conversely which may be ineffective.
To get started, we invite you to email us today or call 1-888-888-1932 to discover how you may benefit from our pharmacogenetic testing program.