Understanding the Link Between ADHD and Anxiety

That Psych Nerd

People with ADHD 50% more likely to have an anxiety disorder.

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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, is a common mental health disorder, along with anxiety. ADHD and anxiety are two different types of mental health disorders that can both influence one another.

Many people with ADHD are known as the person who is always running late or are a perpetual mess. Behind that late, messy friend lies someone who could very well be experiencing anxiety.

People living with ADHD are nearly 50% more likely to have an anxiety disorder than people without ADHD. With an alarming statistic like that, it's essential to know how ADHD and anxiety can intermingle and affect one another.

Anxiety and ADHD

Someone with ADHD may experience anxiety because of their poor attention skills or hyperactive behavior–I know this was partially true. I already had anxiety as a child growing up. The lack of attentive skills and time management really affected me.

I felt like a failure compared to my friends. I couldn't manage my time as well as other people, which meant I had to limit my opportunities. I knew that i wasn't able to take on extra responsibility, and if I did I would have to work hard to stay on track.

Research has actually shown that ADHD can actually worsen anxiety symptoms with restlessness and issues with concentration. With the symptoms of ADHD being hyperactive behavior and inattentiveness, there can be moments of the world you miss simply because you couldn't pay attention.

Anxiety pulls your attention to focus on your anxiety symptoms, which can distract you from your daily tasks. Coupled with inattentive behavior, it can snowball into a mess. Before you know it your day is over and you haven't been able to accomplish what you set out to do.

For example, I struggled to focus and concentrate in school while in lectures. It was difficult, and it caused me to have added anxiety. I felt that my inattention was due to a lack of motivation or willpower. I felt like the weakest, most unmotivated, lazy person in my entire life.

For me, the ever-nagging thought that I would forget something or neglect something by accident. Maybe I would be the office chatterbox. I was terrified of how I indeed was because of my ADHD. I wanted to branch out from that, but it was hard.

Can ADHD impact anxiety?

Research suggests that someone with ADHD experiencing anxiety may have heightened ADHD symptoms. Anxiety and ADHD seem to crash against one another, aggravating symptoms and causing more distress.

With the symptoms of ADHD, they are bound to interact and cause or aggravate someone's anxiety. The inability to focus AND properly plan leaves a massive gap in my day.

I have little understanding of time awareness–I am entirely time blind, thanks to my ADHD. Couple that with the stress that anxiety brings, there heightened struggle everyday.

With the increase in stress, anxiety can increase too. If someone lives with a lot of anxiety and has ADHD, the symptoms can keep worsening, creating a chain reaction of issues.

The duration, severity, and comorbidity of the disorders combined can feel overpowering.

Long term effects

The long-term effects of ADHD and anxiety can be the vicious cycle that keeps those suffering looped in. In the long term, people have to learn to survive; they learn to adapt to these symptoms. Adapting is a difficult thing to reach, especially when it feels hopeless.

Constantly seeking relief from anxiety and ADHD symptoms may lead some people to lean towards harmful behaviors such as drug use.

Overall, ADHD and anxiety have lowered my self-esteem and confidence in my abilities simply because I couldn't work as my classmates did. Sitting still and doing the same thing every day feels like torture.

Through time I learned to treat myself as the girl who wasn't too bright because she couldn't keep track of her keys and wallet. I turned my ADHD into a joke so I could pass. I was worried that I would be the target enemy if people saw just how forgetful and inattentive I could be. Of course, I didn't really feel like in my friendship groups, but more at work.

I had to turn my struggle into a joke because I didn't want people to see how much of a mess I was. Having to live with this mantra in your head can really eat away at you.

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ADHD and anxiety can go hand in hand for many. Each disorder presenting their own debilitating symptoms.

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Stay Connected with This Author: https://linktr.ee/JenniferMarch13 (check out my ‘Story Spotlight’ to read more of my work! Happy reading! 🌞)

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MS in Psychology | Mom of three cats and some house plants | #MentalHealthAdvocate #BeKind

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