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Understanding Anxiety and ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, affects both children and adults. In fact, many children and adults are diagnosed with ADHD. Common symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Those diagnosed with ADHD often have a second—or comorbid—condition. The most common comorbid conditions are depression, social phobia, and anxiety.  Anxiety and ADHD have an overlap of symptoms, making it difficult to separate the two conditions. To learn more about ADHD treatment, call 304.410.0082 today.

Similarities and Differences Between ADHD and Anxiety

Dealing with ADHD or anxiety in children at a young age is an immense challenge. Making sure they get the right treatment is very important.

The similarities between ADHD and anxiety make it more difficult to see symptoms of one if you have already been diagnosed with the other. Understanding how anxiety and ADHD are similar and how they differ is important for anyone diagnosed with either condition.

Anxiety Disorder

An anxiety disorder is characterized by intense symptoms of anxious thoughts and beliefs, feeling overwhelmed or frightened, and physical reactions to those triggers. Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed can result in inattention, one of the symptoms of ADHD.

Anxiety is often caused by a mixture of genetics and biology as well as stress and your environment. The exact causes are unknown. It may develop at any point from childhood onward, as your environment changes.

Anxiety disorders can be treated in a number of ways, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, that helps those struggling with anxiety. CBT is usually a one-on-one between a patient and a therapist who works to help you manage your symptoms of anxiety.
  • Medicine is also used to treat anxiety disorders. There are multiple anti-anxiety medicines and antidepressants that are prescribed to help those struggling with anxiety.


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder, meaning it is an effect of the way the brain grows and develops. It develops in children and can last into adulthood. It’s often difficult to diagnose because it’s normal for children to have trouble focusing and be hyperactive.

Children with ADHD do not grow out of those behaviors. Signs of ADHD involve when symptoms interrupt their daily lives. There are three main types of ADHD. They focus on the two main symptom groups of ADHD: inattention and being hyperactive and impulsive.

  • The predominantly inattentive presentation manifests in an overall lack of attention. It’s difficult for individuals diagnosed with this type of ADHD to organize and finish tasks, pay attention, and follow instructions.
  • The predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation manifests in a lot of fidgeting and talking. Individuals diagnosed with this type of ADHD are not able to wait their turn and are wont to interrupt people when speaking, not listen to instructions, and move constantly.
  • A combined presentation diagnosis is when both symptom groups manifest equally.

Treatment for anxiety and ADHD are generally similar—typically a mixture of psychotherapy and medication. However, the most appropriate treatment will vary from person to person.

What Are the Effects of Anxiety on ADHD and Vice Versa?

Anxiety affects people with ADHD in the same way it affects anyone. It can make focusing and controlling impulses challenging. Additionally, those with both disorders may experience more intense symptoms of anxiety, leading to higher levels of stress and difficulty managing daily tasks.

Conversely, individuals with anxiety disorders often struggle academically because of their difficulties with concentration and focus. This can lead to a misdiagnosis of ADHD, especially if their anxiety is not properly addressed.

It’s important for those diagnosed with either condition to understand the overlap between them and how they can impact each other. It’s also crucial for treatment plans to address both conditions simultaneously, as one may exacerbate the symptoms of the other.

ADHD Treatment at Harmony

At Harmony, we approach ADHD treatment for teens and adults with the utmost empathy and understanding, offering a supportive space where individuals of all ages can find guidance and care. Our tailored treatments take into account the unique experiences of each person, recognizing that ADHD affects everyone differently.

Our therapies, including behavior therapy and mindfulness training, are designed to assist individuals in developing coping mechanisms and strategies that enhance focus, organization, and stress management. We understand that navigating anxiety and ADHD can be a challenging journey, which is why our compassionate therapists are dedicated to walking alongside you every step of the way.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your mental health journey, click here to reach out to our team of empathetic, mental health care experts. For existing clients, please click here and find your office location to contact your office directly.