ADHD and Anxiety

Are you often worried? Nervous? Jumpy? Self-counscious or insecure?  Did you know these are all symptoms of anxiety?  And anxiety disorders are much more common in people with ADHD than you might realize.

Everyone gets the common cold, right?  Healthy adults have on average 2 colds per year and each cold lasts on average one week. That means that at any one time about 4% of adults will have a cold.

According to the Surgeon General, at any one time, 16% of our population will have an anxiety disorder. That means Anxiety Disorders are FOUR TIMES as common as the common cold.  And some studies have indicated that as many as 25% of children with ADHD also have anxiety disorder.

When should you worry about anxiety?

Normal anxiety comes and goes in response to real challenges involving potential loss or failure. Normal anxiety helps sharpen your attention so you can meet those challenges.

Anxiety disorders involved anxiety that is more intense or lasts longer than normal anxiety, or that leads to phobias. Basically, if you worry when there’s no real threat, to the point where you can’t function normally, that’s an anxiety disorder.

Why haven’t I heard about anxiety disorders and ADHD before?

People know when they have a cold. If it’s so common, why don’t they know when they have an anxiety disorder?

  • People may think the anxiety they live with is normal – it’s normal for them after all.
  • People may deny their anxiety because it’s not acceptable to be “afraid”.
  • People may be so good at avoiding what makes them anxious that they almost never experience the symptoms.
  • People may have symptoms they don’t recognize as anxiety-stomach upset, muscle aches, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, twitches, heart palpitations, hot flashes, clammy hands-these can all be symptoms of anxiety.

The primary symptoms of anxiety disorders are fear and worry. But when people have physical symptoms that may mask the real issue, they will seek treatment for those instead. In fact, people with anxiety disorders are 3-5 times more likely to go to the doctor than non-sufferers.

Do you have any of these common symptoms of anxiety?

Emotional and Psychological Symptoms of Anxiety:

  • Apprehension, uneasiness, and dread
  • Impaired concentration or selective attention
  • Feeling restless or on edge
  • Avoidance
  • Hypervigilance
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Behavioral problems (especially in children and adolescents)
  • Nervousness and jumpiness
  • Self-consciousness and insecurity
  • Fear that you are dying or going crazy
  • Strong desire to escape

 Physical Symptoms of Anxiety:

  • Heart palpitations or racing heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Cold and clammy hands
  • Stomach upset or queasiness
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors, twitches, and jitters
  • Muscle tension or aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia


An ADHD Coach can help you manage your anxiety

If you’ve been going to the doctor with any of these and not getting relief, you might want to consider consulting an anxiety specialist.   And an ADHD coach can also help you learn to identify your anxiety triggers and things you can do to keep your anxiety under control.  For example, exercise is an important way to minimize ADHD symptoms.  It is also a powerful antidote to many symptoms of anxiety.

You don’t have to live with anxiety, sign up for an Edge Coach and start taking charge of your life today.

ADHD and anxiety resources

For more information about ADHD and anxiety visit:

Do you have ADHD and anxiety?  What have you done to keep it under control.  We invite you to share your story here and help others learn what you have to keep your edge!

Learn About Edge Executive Function Coaching


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9 Responses

  1. […] January we introduced the topic of ADHD and anxiety with a report of how common forms of anxiety are much more common in people who have ADHD than the […]

  2. […] Anxiety, focuses on how to keep anxiety at bay and builds on the material in these Edge blog posts: ADHD and Anxiety Overview, Common Anxiety Disorders and ADHD, and Non Drug Treatments for Anxiety Everyone Can […]

  3. smashley

    fuck this shit.

    • Peggy -- Edge blogger

      We hope you are expressing your frustration with ADHD & anxiety and not an editorial comment about the quality of our content! LOL Thanks for stopping by and letting us know you were here.

  4. Vinniecat

    I am working for solutions for my 14-year-old son who has been diagnosed with ADHD – several years ago – and who was recently diagnosed as having moderate anxiety as well. He’s stopped his ADHD medication (with medical consultation) and started an antidepressant. His mood has definitely improved but his grades have suffered. Are there ADHD meds that do not increase anxiety? Or do some people do well taking meds for both conditions? It seems a sticky area for medication management and we’re not getting much help from our health care provider in this arena. I’m hoping to try and get him on track this summer so he can have a successful school year this fall. It’s been nice to see him happy for a change but he’s got to do better with school!

    • Peggy -- Edge blogger

      You’ll need to consult with a physician to get medical advice regarding ADHD medication and anxiety. What we can tell you, however, is that coaching has been proven to help students succeed in school. (You can read about the ADHD coaching research findings here.)

      ADHD coaches help students by teaching them to identify their strengths and work around their weaknesses. Because each person is unique, a coach will help your son find strategies that will be uniquely compatible to him. Good luck and feel free to give us a call if you’d like to learn more about ADHD coaching.

  5. Pat

    I have 13 year old son diagnosed with anxiety but the ADHD was not diagnosed until the beginning of 6th grade. It has been a very long a frustrating road. The doctor would just tell me all the jumping he did as a young child was just something not to worry about. “He’ll stop”, she would say and I would think something is wrong. I noticed the axiety when he started preschool and chalked it up to separation anxiety. To this day he still suffers from it. His school work suffered terribly from the anxiety and after much discussions with the doctor and testing it was discovered he suffered from ADHD. He was put on ADHD meds and had a PPT test done in school. Only after I discovered that he scored 2nd from the bottom on mastery tests. He has special ed teachers and aids in the room with him during school. I wish his elementary school had zoned in on this earlier in his school life. The teachers would say every year, “he is very nice, very polite and very nervous”. he struggled with making friends in school too. The kids thought he was stupid and weird. I see him as about 2 years behind academically and emotionally and psychologically. He is trying to catch up now with school.

    • Peggy -- Edge blogger

      Thanks for sharing your story. One of the goals of the Edge Foundation is to increase awareness of ADHD and the conditions (like anxiety) that frequently occur with it. Our hope is that as more people become aware, fewer people (like your son) will slip through the cracks.

  6. Colby

    Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same
    niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.
    You have done a wonderful job!