ADHD and Anxiety
Updated: Sep 28, 2020
In our years of teaching and working with people who have ADHD, we have noticed how ADHD and anxiety disorder symptoms often overlap. An anxious child, or adult, is restless and can be highly distracted by focusing only on their anxiety which can result in anxiety becoming a major barrier to normal functioning. The expectation that a child will grow out of their anxiety and fearfulness as they mature is not correct as, on the contrary, anxiety often becomes more ingrained as they move into adolescence and adulthood.
Society puts more pressure and expectations on individuals as they mature, thereby causing the anxiety to intensify. They are expected to develop social relationships, manage conflict situations, develop higher order reasoning and problem-solving skills. The individual is expected to understand their role in the larger social context and undertake the tasks presented to them. This is a difficult time for all children but even more challenging for a child who is also struggling to cope with the symptoms of ADHD. In adolescents and adults this anxiety can be triggered by changes such as moving out of home, starting a post school qualification or a job change.
Severe anxiety can be debilitating and can make an individual unreceptive to learning and adaption. Research and experience support intervention as early as possible and at each point of change that triggers anxiety. Our goal is to provide strategies and interventions that will prevent anxiety related problems from becoming more severe and will allow for confident performance as the individual integrates more easily into their new role in society.