gifted and ADHD?

Posted by: happymom1122

gifted and ADHD? - 10/02/19 03:25 PM

Can a gifted kid has ADHD at the same time without behavioral issues?

MY DS (16) is identified as gifted (WISC IV 143, tested at 7th grade). He has been a typical good student (meaning that, good grade, no behavioral issues, following the instructions well in any setting, a role model in the class or clubs, and etc). He was bored at school but he managed okay.
However, when he hits the high school, I've noticed that he took so much time to finish his school work unnecessarily. Frequently, he was distracted and started spending time in googling or doodling in his notebook during homework, or he simply looked like doing nothing on his desk. He said it's hard to focus on his homework (especially writing homework).
His grade started dropping in some AP classes. He was also stressed out and depressed. We visited local psy. The doctor talked with him for 30 min. and said he has ADHD as well as depression.
I wasn't surprised by depression becauase he has been unhappy since we moved to the new town in 9th grade, but ADHD? I never observed well-known ADHD indicators when he was young such as attention problem, behavior issues.
I thought his current attention problem came from the stress or depression.
Does anybody know the case of ADHD without much symptoms?
Posted by: aeh

Re: gifted and ADHD? - 10/02/19 08:00 PM

First, I'm sorry your son is struggling right now. You are doing well to connect him with resources.

As to ADHD: yes, it is possible to have an ADHD profile, yet not have apparent challenges in school. However, given your description of his historical presentation, I am more inclined to attribute the current difficulties with focus to depression or other emotional factors, as it is well known that children and adolescents quite often present as inattentive when under emotional distress (actually, adults do too). Given that the psych also diagnosis depression, I would be exceptionally cautious about medicine--stimulant medications, which are often prescribed for attention deficit, can have serious and even dangerous side effects in persons with depression. I would strongly suggest that any treatment (medicine or talk therapy) addresses the depression first. If there were still ADHD symptoms after that, further consideration of ADHD would be better supported.
Posted by: puffin

Re: gifted and ADHD? - 10/03/19 12:21 AM

When I am depressed I am extremely good at avoiding anything causing me stress using a variety of avoidant behaviours. If writing is causing him stress he will get sidetracked by anything possible.
Posted by: howdy

Re: gifted and ADHD? - 10/04/19 02:12 PM

Yes, I have one whose symptoms of ADHD did not show up until later in school. The giftedness just overpowered the inattention until classes got to high school+ level. Medication has helped a lot.

I agree that the depression should be addressed first, then later see if the ADHD symptoms are still present.
Posted by: OCJD

Re: gifted and ADHD? - 10/07/19 09:16 AM

My DS15's story echoes what Howdy stated above. In my kid's case, in 8th grade. High school has gone extremely well with low level medication. Totally agree with looking at the depression first. Best wishes.
Posted by: happymom1122

Re: gifted and ADHD? - 10/09/19 11:55 AM

aeh, puffin, howdy, and OCJD, Thanks a lot for the comments! Actually, the psych prescribed ADHD med. and recommended to talk a counselor for depression. I just arranged an appointment with a counselor for my DS.
He is experiencing a side effect of elevated heart rate with ADHD med but psych wants to keep trying it. (She didn't prescribe for depression med yet.) DO you recommend to get a second opinion?

Howdy and OCJD, I am just curious. when you mentioned a med, what kind of med was it? (if it is okay with you to share.)
Posted by: puffin

Re: gifted and ADHD? - 10/09/19 01:13 PM

I would be more inclined to treat the depression first as it is much more serious. But I suppose the uncontrolled ADHD could be causing or contributing to the depression?
Posted by: aeh

Re: gifted and ADHD? - 10/09/19 06:47 PM

My personal inclination is still to focus on depression first, but then your care team is operating with a more complete data set than we are, out here in internet land. It rarely hurts to get a second opinion IRL, though.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: gifted and ADHD? - 10/10/19 09:23 PM

I understand the logic of what people are expressing with regard to treating depression first. But my experience is that my family members with ADHD often become depressed or seem depressed when less functional, and treating their ADHD deals with the apparent depression. The issue of course, is whether you are dealing with a person who seems like they might have ADHD because they have depression or anxiety, or whether you are dealing with a person who is experiencing depression because they are struggling to function they way the want to due to untreated ADHD. And your in person health team are the best people to help with that, but I do agree with AEH that second opinions are really valuable. Especially if you are feeling uncertain. When you see any sort of specialist about any sort of problem and their answer leaves you thinking "Oh YES! I see that know, how did I not realise?" it is very easy for you to proceed on the advice of that first person. If things aren't so clear, get another opinion and see if it helps. Two people that agree is reassuring, two that disagree is interesting and useful. Or maybe they agree but one describes what they think is going on differently and uses different examples, or has a different suggested path forward, and THAT is also very interesting.
Posted by: happymom1122

Re: gifted and ADHD? - 10/14/19 12:24 PM

Mom of three; yes, yes, yes! what you mentioned were all the questions in my mind. A psych nor a counselor could answer if ADHD caused the depression or depression caused attention problem yet or if all worked together.
My DS got even more depressed since he started to treat his ADHD and depression. He feels shameful about that.
I am trying to getting an assessment but it's not easy to schedule an evaluation during the school year.