Updated: Oct 17, 2022
When you hear the words ADHD and anxiety, what comes to mind?
For many people, these two words are linked together because they often occur together. In fact, anxiety is one of the most common co-occurring disorders with ADHD.
If you're like me, you probably know someone who has been diagnosed with ADHD. It seems like everyone knows someone who has it, and if they don't, they likely know someone who is closely related to someone with ADHD. But what you might not know is that ADHD and anxiety often go hand in hand.
In fact, up to 50% of people with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. So what does that mean for those of us who are struggling with both?
In this blog post, we'll explore how ADHD and anxiety can work together to create a perfect storm of difficulty. We'll also talk about how to get help if you're struggling with both conditions, and how to manage this pairing.
So read on for helpful insights and advice!
It's not uncommon for people with ADHD to also suffer from anxiety. In fact, research suggests that the two conditions often go hand-in-hand.
While the exact reason for this is not clear, it is believed that the impulsiveness and restlessness associated with ADHD can trigger anxiety symptoms.
For example, someone with ADHD may have difficulty controlling their thoughts, leading to a feeling of overwhelming worry. They may also be easily distracted, which can lead to anxious thoughts about what they are missing or what could go wrong.
Additionally, people with ADHD often have trouble sleeping, which can increase feelings of anxiety and make it difficult to concentrate during the day.
However, there are also some important differences between the two conditions. Anxiety is characterized by fear and worry, whereas ADHD is not. And while people with ADHD may sometimes act impulsively, they don't do so because they're trying to avoid something unpleasant, as people with anxiety often do.
Nevertheless, the fact that ADHD and anxiety often occur together can make both conditions more difficult to manage.
Riding the Waves
It's normal to feel anxious at times. Everyone experiences anxiety to some degree.
However, people with ADHD often experience anxiety at higher levels than others, and it can interfere with their daily lives. There are a number of things that people with ADHD can do to deal with their anxiety.
First, it's important to understand that ADHD and anxiety are separate conditions, and treating one will not necessarily eliminate the other.
Second, there are a number of effective treatments for both conditions, so it's important to work with a doctor or therapist to find the best approach for you.
Finally, self-care is essential. Taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly can help reduce anxiety and improve your overall well-being.
Here are a few bite size tips that may help:
Get organized. Having a system in place can help reduce stress and make it easier to focus. Try using a planner or setting up a daily routine.
Limit distractions. Turn off the TV, put away your phone, and avoid other sources of distraction when you need to focus on something.
Exercise regularly. Exercise can help reduce stress and improve focus. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day can make a big difference.
Take breaks during the day. Overstimulation can worsen symptoms of both ADHD and anxiety. Make sure to take breaks throughout the day to relax and de-stress.
Seek professional help. If you’re struggling to manage your ADHD and anxiety, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. They can provide additional resources and support.
Everyone experiences anxiety to some degree. But if your anxiety is intense, lasts for long periods of time, and interferes with your daily life, you may have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are treatable, but only about one-third of people who have them receive treatment.
Many people with anxiety never seek out treatment because they don't realize that their symptoms are part of an anxiety disorder.
Some people with anxiety disorders may also have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about half of all adults with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder.
Counseling can be an effective way to help deal with both disorders. A counselor can help you to understand your diagnosis and create a treatment plan that meets your needs. They can also provide support and guidance as you learn to cope with the symptoms of both conditions. Counseling can provide an opportunity to learn healthy coping strategies and develop a better understanding of what triggers our anxiety.
For people with ADHD, counseling can also help to address the underlying issues that often contribute to anxiety, such as chronic procrastination or difficulty managing time.
If you're not sure where to start, you can always ask your doctor for a referral to a counselor.
We highly advise seeking someone who specializes in treating anxiety and ADHD.
Contact them and ask any questions you have, take advantage of any free consultations to see if you feel comfortable or if they would be a good fit, and - arguably, most important - do not hesitate to take this step.
The Calm After the Storm
ADHD and anxiety are two of the most common mental health conditions in the United States.
They often manifest together, as people with ADHD are more likely to experience anxiety disorders and vice versa. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for managing these conditions, we hope that the tips in this post will help you get started on finding what works best for you.
If you’re looking for additional support, please consider getting into counseling.
Counseling can provide a safe space for exploring your thoughts and feelings, and it can be a great resource for developing strategies to manage your ADHD and/or anxiety.
If you’re interested in getting started, I would be happy to connect with you and answer any questions or just get to know each other.
There is calm from this perfect storm. Will you seek it?