ADHD & Anxiety

How ADHD & Anxiety Co-exist


Anxiety isn't developed or caused by a single factor but a combination of things. A number of other factors play a role, including personality factors, difficult life experiences and physical health.

Anxiety is a normal response to stress, and isn't always a bad thing. But when it gets to be uncontrollable or excessive to the point where it affects quality of life, this may be indicative of an anxiety disorder.

ADHD and anxiety are closely connected. Anxiety disorder is ADHDs most common comorbidity — in no small part because the ADHD experience makes for a life characterised by stress and worry.

Adults with ADHD lead anxious lives. The nature of ADHD often makes day-to-day life stressful, creating situations and environments fraught with uncertainty – anxietys primary fuel.

The link is so direct. Anxiety is the most common comorbid diagnosis with adult ADHD.

Is Anxiety a Symptom of ADHD?

Although anxiety alone is not included in the diagnostic criterion for ADHD, the link between the two conditions is strong. Individuals with ADHD are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than are individuals without the condition.

Does ADHD Make Anxiety Worse?

Individuals diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety disorders tend to have more severe anxiety symptoms than do those without ADHD. But even adults with ADHD who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for anxiety may experience occasional and situational anxiety in their daily lives – precisely because of ADHD, which may cause time blindness, poor working memory, and exaggerated emotions, among other anxiety-producing symptoms.

Other ADHD Symptoms That Exacerbate Anxiety

There is a distrust and uncertainty in someone that builds up after years of experiencing ADHD symptoms such as inattention, overwhelm, memory lapses, and more. “Consistent inconsistency” is knowing, for example, that a task needs to be accomplished, but doubting the ability to get it done.

Individuals with ADHD know what they need to do, but they have problems with implementation – a tension that begets anxiety. This is a big part of what makes ADHD maddening, particularly in adulthood.