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The Link Between Anxiety and ADHD

Apr 01, 2023
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Unmanaged anxiety and ADHD can both disrupt your quality of life, making it difficult to get through your daily activities. Learn more about how these conditions are linked and the treatments available to help.

Anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are different conditions. Yet the two disorders are closely linked, with about half of people with ADHD also getting diagnosed with anxiety.   

The caring psychiatric providers at Peace, Hope & Harmony, Inc. in Midlothian, Texas, offer personalized mental health care for many conditions affecting your mental health and well-being — including anxiety and ADHD. 

Understanding anxiety

When people refer to anxiety, they’re referring to a group of mental health disorders, which include generalized anxiety disorder, which is the most common form of anxiety, as well as:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Phobias
  • Agoraphobia

When you struggle with generalized anxiety disorder, you have an overactive fight-or-flight response. This response sends a surge of stress hormones into your bloodstream to help you face stressful situations. 

These hormones, which include adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol, raise your respiratory rate and heartbeat and constrict blood vessels, which raises your blood pressure. These physical reactions are helpful when you need an extra spurt of speed to run away from a threat or added strength to fight. 

But with generalized anxiety disorder and other forms of anxiety, your body spends more time than it should responding this way to things that don’t require this type of response. As a result, your mental health and physical health deteriorate. 

Anxiety disorder can leave you living in a world of irrational fears with a sense of impending doom and a lack of hope. Because of your overactive stress response, it can trigger problems that affect your quality of life, including:

  • Issues in personal or professional relationships
  • Persistent sleep issues
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Inability to engage in activities you enjoy
  • Self-loathing or worthlessness
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Chronic headaches
  • Chronic pain
  • Digestive troubles

Fortunately, effective treatments exist to help you manage your symptoms and overcome many of these challenges. 

Understanding ADHD

ADHD is a neurobehavioral medical condition that results because of differences in brain development. It impacts brain activity related to self-control and attention, and can affect many areas of life. 

There are different types of ADHD, and these different types trigger different, though sometimes overlapping, symptoms. Most people are diagnosed with either predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive, or combined type ADHD.  

Some common ADHD symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Difficulty listening when spoken to
  • Trouble following instructions
  • Making frequent careless mistakes
  • Forgetful or loses things often
  • Disorganized or absent-minded
  • Trouble finishing tasks
  • Issues waiting turns or in line
  • Interrupts or talks excessively
  • Trouble with quiet tasks
  • Acts before thinking
  • Engages in risky behavior
  • Overly emotional responses
  • Easily bored or impatient

While there’s no cure for ADHD, effective treatment options make managing your symptoms easier, restoring your quality of life. 

How anxiety and ADHD are linked

ADHD and anxiety disorders often appear together. You can have both at the same time, or ADHD can foster the development of an anxiety disorder. And because the conditions share some overlapping symptoms, it can be challenging to know which affects you. 

Since ADHD can lead to general disorganization and issues like misplacing work, missing deadlines, trouble paying attention to details, and more, it can cause people with the condition to worry about forgetting to take care of important things. 

This triggers feelings of anxiety, and when the condition isn’t well managed, these feelings can grow as the issues continue to arise in daily life. In addition, many medications used to treat ADH are stimulants, which can lead to more feelings of anxiety. 

Researchers also believe genetics may play a role. In other words, the two disorders may run in families together, the way other health conditions can coexist genetically. 

Personalized mental health care

Treatment for mental health conditions begins with an accurate diagnosis. At Peace, Hope & Harmony, your provider conducts a thorough psychiatric evaluation to uncover the root cause of your symptoms. 

Our providers use a modern pharmacological approach to provide safe and effective help for your mental health condition. Most people with anxiety, ADHD, or both benefit from a combined treatment approach, which typically involves medication along with lifestyle changes and psychotherapy. 

To schedule an evaluation for anxiety and/or ADHD, book an appointment online or over the phone at Peace, Hope & Harmony, Inc., in Midlothian, Texas. We also offer telehealth visits.