Relationship between ADHD and anxiety (2023)

Anxiety can make it difficult to recognize that you also have ADHD, as symptoms can overlap. ADHD can also mask anxiety symptoms. It is important to identify both conditions in order to receive the best treatment.

If you have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), you may also have another mental disorder.

Onetwo thirdsof people living withADHDpresent at least one comorbidity. concrete at leastquarterof people with ADHD also live with a diagnosable anxiety disorder.

Keep reading to learn more about the link between ADHD and anxiety.

When you have ADHD, it can be difficult to recognize anxiety symptoms.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is an ongoing condition that usually begins in childhood and can persist into adulthood. It can affect your ability to concentrate and lead to behavioral problems.

ANDcan presentas predominantlyinattentive type, the predominantly hyperactive type, or the combined type. These types can develop or change throughout a person's life.

Symptoms can include:

  • hyperactivity
  • lack of attention
  • lack of impulse control
  • Restlessness and difficulty sitting still
  • Difficulty organizing and completing tasks

Learn more aboutADHD types.

(Video) Anxiety vs. ADHD - The Difference - How You Can Tell

what is fear

An anxiety disorder is more than just occasional anxiety. It is a serious and long-lasting mental illness. It can make you feel anxious, restless, and overly anxious in benign or normal situations.

Anxiety can occur on its owngeneralized anxiety disorder, or it may occur as a symptom of other mental illnesses. These include:

  • Panic Syndrome
  • Phobia
  • Hypochondria
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) orcomplex PTSD

If you have an anxiety disorder, your symptoms may be severe enough to interfere with your ability to work, study, enjoy relationships or carry out everyday activities.

learn more aboutanxiety disorders.


The symptoms of ADHD are slightly different from those of anxiety. ADHD symptomsmainly includeFocus and concentration problems. However, anxiety symptomsinvolve problemswith nervousness and fear.

ADHD symptomsanxiety symptoms
Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
Problems completing tasks
to forget
Inability to relax or feeling restless
Restlessness or difficulty sitting still
impatience, as B. Difficulty waiting or interrupting people
Panic symptoms, such as a fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, or sweating
Difficulty listening and following instructions
Inability to concentrate for long periods
chronic feelings of worry or nervousness
Fear for no apparent reason
trouble sleeping or insomnia
headache and abdominal pain
difficulties withexecutive function

While each condition has unique symptoms, sometimes the two conditions mirror each other. This can make it difficult to tell if you have ADHD, anxiety, or both.

How can you tell the difference?

Although professional evaluation is necessary, family members can tell the difference between ADHD and anxiety. The key is to watch how your symptoms manifest over time.

When you're scared, you may not be able to focus on situations that make you anxious. On the other hand, if you have ADHD, you will find it difficult to concentrate in any given situation most of the time.

If you have both ADHD and anxiety, the symptoms of both conditions can seem more extreme. For example, anxiety can make it even harder for a person with ADHD to pay attention and complete tasks.

ADHD and anxiety in women

(Video) Is It ADHD or Anxiety? (The TRUE Difference)

ADHD was historicunderdiagnosedin women This is because women tend to have more subtle symptoms than men.

Compared with men, many of whom are diagnosed in childhood, womentend to geta diagnosis in adulthood.

Research shows women living with ADHDMore likeexperience a mood disorder such as anxiety than men. Oftentimes, medical professionals may diagnose a woman with anxiety but not realize her ADHD.

If you're a woman living with anxiety and you have some symptoms that could be related to ADHD, it's a good idea to discuss this with your doctor.

learn more aboutwomen and ADHD.

Are sex and gender the same thing?

People often use the terms sex and gender interchangeably, but they have different meanings:

  • “Gender” refers to the physical characteristics that distinguish male, female and intersex bodies.
  • "Gender" refers to a person's identity and how they feel inside. Examples include Male, Female, Non-Binary, Agent, Bigender, Gender Fluid, Pangender, and Trans. A person's gender identity may be different from the gender assigned at birth.

Treating ADHD and anxiety at the same time can be challenging because some ADHD medications can make anxiety symptoms worse. However, both diseases must be treated.

Your doctor may first focus on the condition that most affects your quality of life. They may also be able to offer suggestions on how to treat the other condition.

Doctor's treatmentscan recommendfor ADHD and anxiety in adults or children can includecognitive behavioral therapyor prescription drugswithstimulants

It's important to be honest and open with your doctor about your symptoms. This is especially true if you suspect you have two conditions at the same time.

Your doctor will want to know if a treatment is making one or both of your conditions worse. This will help them adjust their treatment.

Online therapy options

Read our review ofbest online therapy optionsto find the right one for you.

(Video) ADHD and Anxiety - What You Need To Know!

lifestyle remedy

There are certain lifestyle changes you can make to help deal with anxiety and ADHD. These include:

  • Know your triggers:For some people, anxiety can be triggered by certain events, such as B. public speaking or calling someone. Work with a doctor to find ways to manage your anxiety in these situations.
  • Getting enough sleep:Try to sleep 7-8 hours every night. Meditate or take a bath before bed to calm your mind. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day. People with ADHD can have trouble sleeping, so talk to a doctor if you need more help.
  • Eat healthy:Insufficient nutrients or certain food allergies and sensitivitiesCould be worseYour Symptoms Start an elimination diet to identify triggers. If you know what to avoid, try to eat a balanced diet, for examplemediterranean cuisine. Avoid added sugar and processed foods.
  • Create schedule:If you have ADHD, you may find it difficult to complete tasks. This can make anxiety worse. To avoid this, create a realistic schedule and try to stick to it. Expect each activity to take longer than you think.
  • Writing a diary:Writing in a journal can help clear your mind. You should feel comfortable writing whatever comes to mind. It can also help you identify things you want to discuss with a doctor or therapist.
  • Exercise regularly:Exercise can help reduce anxiety. on aanalysisFrom numerous studies, researchers have found that exercise reduces anxiety. High-intensity exercise seems to be more effective than low-intensity exercise, but at least try30 minutesexercise per day.
(Video) The Difference Between ADHD and Anxiety Signs

It's unclear why there is a link between ADHD and anxiety, and doctors don't fully understand what causes either condition. Genetics can be responsible for both conditions and also cause comorbidity.

The researchers alsoobservedseveral other conditions that commonly occur with ADHD, including:

  • Depression
  • autism
  • sleep disorders
  • Dyslexia
  • substance abuse
  • Bipolar disorder

Possible causes of ADHD are genetics, environmental toxins or premature birth. These causes can also contribute to anxiety.

Learn more: Is ADHD genetic?

If you have ADHD, it's important to tell a doctor about all of your symptoms, even if you think they're unrelated.

(Video) The Connection Between ADHD and Anxiety

You may have an additional condition such as B. Fear. You should also report any new symptoms to a doctor, as over time you could develop anxiety or another condition.

Once your doctor has diagnosed ADHD and anxiety, you can begin treating both conditions.

Read more: The 11 Best ADHD Blogs.


1. The Truth About ADHD and Anxiety in Adults
(ADDitude Magazine)
2. ADHD and Anxiety
3. Is it ADHD, Generalized Anxiety or Both?
(Dr Michael Seng)
4. ADHD and Anxiety
(Dr. Sharon Saline)
5. Anxiety, Depression, ADHD and What I Would Tell #MyYoungerSelf | McKenna Hallem
(Child Mind Institute)
6. ADHD and Anxiety: A Basic Intervention


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