Anxiety

Between 25-40% of people with ADHD may have an anxiety disorder as a comorbidity with their ADHD. Around 10% of people originally diagnosed with an anxiety disorder end up later being diagnosed with ADHD.


Some of the most common symptoms of an anxiety disorder include (symptoms also found in ADHD are noted in parentheses) :


  • Difficulty controlling feeling of worry

  • Feelings of powerlessness

  • Restlessness, twitching, or tense muscles

  • Increased heart rate

  • Fatigue (Also common in some ADHD presentations)

  • Irritability or edginess

  • Trouble concentrating (Also common in ADHD)

  • Sleep difficulties (Also common in ADHD)

  • Trouble breathing or inability to stay in confined spaces

  • Panic attacks of intense fear, dizziness, heart palpitations, or shortness of breath


If you think that you might have an anxiety disorder it's important to bring it up with your doctor or therapist.

Personal Experience

I was not diagnosed with ADHD until I was 36 years old. That meant that I had lived my entire life up until that point with undiagnosed ADHD. When I was a kid I had to learn coping mechanisms to try and mask my "weird" behaviors. I was often an outcast because I would frequently blurt out answers or interrupt people and that would rub people the wrong way.


My mother had taken me to see many therapists and doctors to try and figure out why I was so different, only for them to tell her that I was just "highly intelligent" and people who are that intelligent just "think differently" than most people.


I oftentimes would not feel very intelligent though because I would always miss small details of things and mess up and I also got really bad grades in school because I could never focus on my homework. This caused me to frequently second guess myself because I was always worried that I making the wrong decision. I would also procrastinate because I would just become so overwhelmed with actually making a decision because my brain would think of all the ways it would go wrong.

As an adult, these trained behaviors in myself have turned into a generalized anxiety that I still deal with on a daily basis.

Sources

  1. Anxiety Disorders. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Published 2018. Accessed February 9, 2022. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders#part_2223