ADHD and mental health

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be a lifelong condition. You might start to experience symptoms in childhood and find that they continue into your teenage years and as an adult.

We know that if you have ADHD you’re more likely to experience a mental health problem. There’s evidence that anxiety, depression, conduct disorder (persistent patterns of antisocial, aggressive or defiant behaviour), substance abuse, and sleep problems are all more common with people who have ADHD.

What is ADHD like?

If you experience ADHD, you might find that you:

  • have difficulty concentrating
  • tend to fidget
  • are forgetful
  • sometimes make impulsive decisions.

This isn’t a complete list of all symptoms, but they are some of the symptoms which are also common in mental health problems.

Lots of the main symptoms of ADHD are things that impact your behaviour, mood, and thinking. So you might be misdiagnosed with a mental health problem like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or a personality disorder.

Support and treatment

There are lots of different types of treatment for ADHD, such as medication, talking treatments and educational support. To find out more about these and how you can get them, visit the NHS website. We also have specific advice for young people at the end of this page.

Your GP

Whether you're seeking help for ADHD or a mental health problem, it's not always easy having a conversation with your doctor. Our Find the Words guide can help you to prepare for your appointment and talk about how you're feeling, so you can make the most of your time with them.

Our Find the Words guide

CBT

One of the treatments offered for ADHD is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is also offered as a mental health treatment. CBT is a type of talking treatment which focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour.

Find out about CBT

Medication

Some types of medication that you might be offered for ADHD are often prescribed for mental health problems too. Our information explains what psychiatric drugs are, and gives information about starting and stopping taking them.

Find out more about medication

Where else can I get support for ADHD?

If you’re experiencing a mental health problem, we have an A-Z list of mental health information. You can call, text, or email our Infoline. And your local Mind may provide a range of support services.

There are also several organisations that support people with ADHD:

Resources and support for young people

If you’re a young person looking for support for your mental health, we have a guide on finding support and visiting your doctor.

To find out more about living with ADHD and the treatment and support options available, you can find a range of resources on the ADHD Foundation website. YoungMinds also have a page on the links between ADHD and mental health that you might find useful.

For parents who are supporting a child with ADHD, you can visit the parents section of the ADHD Foundation website. YoungMinds also provide a guide on supporting your child.

Share your experience

If you have experience of living with ADHD and mental health problems, you can share your story by writing a blog for Mind.

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