Anxiety in ADHD

Anxiety in ADHD

It is very common for individuals with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to be diagnosed with another disorder, such as a learning disorder or mental health issue. Commonly, individuals with ADHD experience anxiety, most often as a result of the challenges and stress they face. In fact, it has been estimated that between 25% to 33% of individuals with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder.

Why do we see so much anxiety in individuals with ADHD? One reason is that having ADHD can make everyday tasks much harder for some people. Something as simple as getting to work on time can be difficult, provoking anxiety as they rush out the door and worrying their boss will see them slinking in 15 minutes late. In school, students who “zone out” in class can feel anxious when a teacher calls on them or when they realize they forgot to complete the previous night’s homework. Test-taking can be very anxiety-provoking because students with ADHD often have poor study habits and tend to complete tests more slowly than their peers, often running out of time.

As an adult with ADHD, life choices and life status can also cause anxiety. Some individuals with ADHD may have tried and failed at several attempts with college. Some may bounce from job to job, never being fully successful or finding what they really enjoy. Some individuals with ADHD may have difficulties managing money and find themselves in debt or tight financial situations. When they reflect on their lives or compare themselves to others, these individuals can feel like a failure and worry about how they can ever get better. Small stressors, such as tests and work meetings, can feel like big stressors.

The other factor that can increase anxiety in individuals with ADHD is called “emotional control.” Most people without ADHD experience emotions in a way they can manage. They get sad or mad, but it does not feel overwhelming or take over their day. For individuals with ADHD, keeping their emotions under control can be as difficult as keeping their focus or keeping organized. This means that the anxiety we all experience can feel even more intense for individuals with ADHD and show up more often in their everyday lives.

By |2019-02-03T06:56:59+00:00January 18th, 2019|

About the Author:

Dr. Stephanie M. Fox
Dr. Fox’s professional training took her throughout the Four Corners area, which inspired her practice name. In 2009, she earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of New Mexico, graduating summa cum laude. She earned her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University, Denver in 2012, and her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Arizona School of Professional Psychology in 2016. Throughout her training, Dr. Fox has had an extensive assessment background, including conducting diagnostic, forensic, and educational/achievement evaluations with adolescents and adults. She completed a predoctoral internship at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan, and completed her postdoctoral work in private practice in personality and psychoeducational evaluations. Collectively, Dr. Fox has completed hundreds of evaluations covering a diverse range of issues. Dr. Fox is licensed as a Psychologist in the state of Colorado (#4709), and is also nationally certified as a Health Service Psychologist by the National Register (#55849). She is a member of the American Psychological Association, Colorado Psychological Association, and Colorado Assessment Society.