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Can Anxiety trigger / contribute to ADD/ADHD symptoms?

Though everyone experiences anxiety once in awhile, a true anxiety disorder is much more serious and longer lasting. An anxiety disorder is a form of mental illness that causes people to feel distressed, uneasy, and excessively frightened in benign situations.

Symptoms can be so severe that they affect one’s ability to work, study, enjoy relationships, or otherwise go about daily activities.

ADHD doesn’t cause anxiety disorders. However, those who have ADHD are more likely than others to experience them. When both occur at the same time, the symptoms can be very problematic.

Sometimes, the two conditions mirror each other, making it difficult to tell whether the person has one, the other, or both. In these cases, only a full evaluation by a professional can determine the answer.

What Are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

A person with an anxiety disorder may have chronic feelings of worry or nervousness. Additional symptoms include:

* fear without apparent cause

* irritability

* trouble sleeping

* headaches and stomachaches

* trouble controlling worry or fear

* insomnia

Anxiety can also create a fear of trying new things, including certain treatment methods. Although medications can be helpful for some ADHD patients, they can exacerbate anxiety symptoms in others.

How Can You identify the attention issues caused by anxiety?

Though a professional evaluation is necessary, family members may be able to tell the difference between ADHD and anxiety. The key is to watch how the symptoms present over time. A child with anxiety may not be able to concentrate in situations that cause them to feel anxious. On the other hand, a child with ADHD will find it difficult to concentrate most all the time, in any type of situation.

Avoidance of certain fearful situations is a telltale sign that someone is suffering from anxiety. For example, a child who complains of a stomachache first thing in the morning may be experiencing anxiety about going to school. A child who always acts on impulse without thinking is more likely to have ADHD.

What happens when both ADHD and anxiety occur together?

If a person suffers from both ADHD and anxiety, one will likely exacerbate the other. Anxiety makes it even more difficult to pay attention and follow through on tasks.

On the other hand, ADHD can create anxiety. Patients who worry that their symptoms will disrupt their work or cause them humiliation may suffer increased anxiety as they struggle to manage these symptoms

How to treat ADHD and anxiety when they co-exit?

Scientists have speculated that genetics may be to blame for why ADHD and anxiety disorders can co-exist. The important thing is that both conditions need to be treated to help the patient best manage their symptoms.

Cognitive and behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, meditation, and sometimes medication can help calm the nervous system and allow patients to live their lives to the fullest.

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