ADHD and Anxiety, Understanding the Link and How To Cope

Since the symptoms of ADHD and anxiety may overlap, it may be challenging to recognize if you also have ADHD. Additionally, ADHD may conceal the signs of anxiety. To receive the most excellent care, it’s critical to diagnose both illnesses. Keep reading to learn more about the link between these two illnesses.

Does ADHD Make Anxiety Worse?

While ADHD itself may not directly cause anxiety, the challenges and difficulties associated with ADHD can contribute to heightened anxiety levels. Here are some ways in which ADHD might impact anxiety:

  1. Executive Functioning Challenges: ADHD often involves difficulties with executive functions such as planning, organization, and time management. These challenges can lead to a sense of overwhelm and frustration, which may contribute to anxiety.
  2. Impulsivity: Impulsivity is a common feature of ADHD. Impulsive behavior can sometimes lead to negative consequences, and the fear of making rash decisions may contribute to anxiety.
  3. Social Challenges: ADHD can affect social interactions and relationships. Difficulties in social situations may lead to feelings of social anxiety or rejection.
  4. Academic or Work Challenges: ADHD can affect performance in educational and work settings. Struggles with tasks, deadlines, and responsibilities may contribute to anxiety, especially in environments where these challenges are particularly salient.
  5. Stress from Coping Strategies: Individuals with ADHD may develop coping strategies, such as hyperfocusing on a task of interest. However, these strategies can sometimes lead to stress when they interfere with other responsibilities or activities.

Not everyone with ADHD experiences anxiety, and anxiety can have various causes. Additionally, anxiety disorders can occur independently of ADHD. If someone is experiencing symptoms of stress along with ADHD, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and appropriate management.

ADHD And Anxiety In Women

It is more difficult to maintain concentration, organize oneself, pay attention, and retain information when one has inattentive ADHD. In addition to more significant dysphoria, or a sense of unease, discontent, and agitation, women with ADHD are more prone to experience depression and anxiety as a result of their disease.

ADHD Misdiagnosed As Anxiety

It is true that the symptoms of ADHD frequently mirror and overlap with those of other illnesses like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, which can result in misdiagnosis but also insufficient treatment when undiagnosed comorbidities are present.

ADHD and Anxiety We Level Up FL Mental Health Center Tip

If you have ADHD and find that it contributes to anxiety, establishing routines can be beneficial. Creating a structured daily schedule, setting realistic goals, and breaking tasks into smaller, manageable steps can make a significant difference. Additionally, mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can aid in managing anxiety. Seeking professional guidance and considering a combination of behavioral strategies and, if necessary, medication may also be beneficial. Remember, minor adjustments in daily habits and a supportive approach can go a long way in managing both ADHD and anxiety.

Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Overview

Your brain and behavior are both impacted by the condition of addiction. Substance addiction makes it unable to resist the impulse to use the drug, regardless of how harmful it may be. The sooner you receive treatment for drug addiction, the better your chances are of avoiding some of the disease’s more serious side effects.

Anxiety Symptoms

Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.

Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.

Whole body: fatigue or sweating

Also common:  anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Anxiety Treatment

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aims to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an extreme feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.

6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

10.3 %

19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

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How to Treat ADHD And Anxiety

Does ADHD Meds Help With Anxiety?

ADHD medications, such as stimulants (e.g., methylphenidate or amphetamines) or non-stimulants (e.g., atomoxetine), are primarily designed to address the symptoms of ADHD. However, in some cases, individuals with ADHD may also experience a reduction in anxiety symptoms when their ADHD is effectively managed. This is because better attention, focus, and impulse control can lead to improved functioning in various areas of life, potentially reducing stressors that contribute to anxiety.

On the other hand, stimulant medications, which are commonly prescribed for ADHD, may have stimulating effects that could increase anxiety in some individuals. It’s important to discuss any concerns about anxiety with a healthcare professional when considering or using ADHD medications. Healthcare providers can tailor the treatment plan based on an individual’s specific needs, adjusting the type or dosage of medication as necessary.

In some cases, a person with ADHD and comorbid anxiety may benefit from a combination of ADHD medication and anti-anxiety medication. Still, this decision should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider who can assess the individual’s overall health and specific symptoms.

Does Adhd Medication Help With Anxiety? ADHD Medications For Adults With Anxiety: Since stimulant medications may exacerbate anxiety symptoms, non-stimulants are a better choice for those who have both ADHD and anxiety.
Does Adhd Medication Help With Anxiety? ADHD Medications For Adults With Anxiety: Since stimulant medications may exacerbate anxiety symptoms, non-stimulants are a better choice for those who have both ADHD and anxiety.

How To Treat ADHD And Anxiety?

Treating ADHD and anxiety often involves a multimodal approach that addresses both conditions. Here are some strategies:

  1. Professional Evaluation: Seek a comprehensive evaluation from a healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, to accurately diagnose ADHD and anxiety. This evaluation can help tailor an appropriate treatment plan.
  2. Medication: ADHD medications, such as stimulants (e.g., methylphenidate, amphetamines) or non-stimulants (e.g., atomoxetine), can be prescribed to manage ADHD symptoms. Anti-anxiety medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or benzodiazepines, may be considered for anxiety. The choice of medication depends on the individual’s specific symptoms and needs.
  3. Therapy: Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can be effective for both ADHD and anxiety. These therapies help individuals develop coping strategies, improve executive functioning, and address negative thought patterns.
  4. Lifestyle Changes: Implementing healthy lifestyle habits can benefit both conditions. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep contribute to overall well-being and can help manage symptoms.
  5. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation can help manage anxiety symptoms. These techniques can improve focus and reduce stress.
  6. Support Groups: Joining support groups or therapy groups for individuals with ADHD or anxiety can provide a sense of community and understanding. Sharing experiences and coping strategies with others can be valuable.
  7. Educational Support: For individuals with ADHD, understanding the condition and learning effective strategies for organization, time management, and task completion can be crucial. Psychoeducation helps individuals and their families better manage ADHD-related challenges.
  8. Environmental Modifications: Creating an organized and supportive environment can benefit individuals with ADHD. Minimizing distractions, using visual aids, and implementing structure can help improve focus and reduce anxiety.

It’s essential to note that the combination of treatments will vary from person to person. Consulting with healthcare professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and other specialists, can guide the development of an individualized treatment plan. Regular communication with healthcare providers ensures that the treatment plan is effective and adjusted as needed.

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We Level Up Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions. However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success.  A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. 

We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

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Search We Level Up FL ADHD and Anxiety Resources

[1] National Institute of Mental Health (NIMPH) – Anxiety Disorders –

[2] National Institute of Mental Health (NIMPH) – Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) –

[3] Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -What is ADHD –

[4]  Bandelow B, Michaelis S, Wedekind D. Treatment of anxiety disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2017 Jun;19(2):93-107. doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2017.19.2/bbandelow. PMID: 28867934; PMCID: PMC5573566.

[5] Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Other Concerns With ADHD –

[6] Gnanavel S, Sharma P, Kaushal P, Hussain S. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and comorbidity: A review of literature. World J Clin Cases. 2019 Sep 6;7(17):2420-2426. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v7.i17.2420. PMID: 31559278; PMCID: PMC6745333.

[7] Chand SP, Marwaha R. Anxiety. [Updated 2023 Apr 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

[8] Psychopharmacology of anxiety disorders – National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

[9]  Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Anxiety Disorders –

[10] Coping with Stress – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention