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ADHD vs. Anxiety; are two terms that are often recognized as mirror images of each other. But these two terms are not essentially similar and have significant differences in their symptoms and causes and so in their treatments. According to statistics, on average, half of the persons who have ADHD are also battling social Anxiety disorder. Both ADHD and Anxiety are different diseases, but both adversely influence the lives of sufferers and their families with miserable trauma.

ADHD(Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is more often recognized as a disease related to difficulty focusing, paying attention, concentration, distractibility, creativity, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. ADHD usually happens due to genetic problems, developmental problems, and certain environmental factors and results in low self-esteem, poor performance at work or school, unstable relationships, and many other problems.

While Anxiety is perceived as a psychic disease characterized by constant feelings of fear, as panic attacks, uneasiness, danger, ruination, sleep problems, palpitations, nausea, hyperventilation, dizziness, rumination, shortness of breath, and impulsively avoiding feared objects and places, it may happen due to many elements, including environmental stress, genetics, drug misuse or withdrawal, brain chemistry, and many other medical conditions.

Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a chronic mental and neurodevelopmental illness that leads to impulsivity, hyperactivity, and restlessness. Mostly the disease appears in childhood, and in many individuals, it lasts till adulthood. 

While some such cases have also been seen in which symptoms appear only when a person becomes an adult. Symptoms of ADHD can be seen more clearly in children than adults, where hyperactivity decreases, but other symptoms like restlessness and some difficulty concentrating and paying attention may continue.

On behalf of statistics from CDC(Centers of disease control and prevention), it is evident that on average, 9.4 percent (6.1 million) of children between the ages of 2-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD at least once in their life.


The various symptoms of ADHD vary in different persons relative to their age and the severity of their problem. Many adults are not even aware of encountering this disease. Here we will enlighten some indications that will help in diagnosing this ailment:

  • Hyperactivity(restlessness in adults)
  • Impulsivity
  • Inattention
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Poor time management skills
  • difficult multitasking
  • Poor planning
  • Low frustration bearing
  • Excessive activity
  • Occasional mood swings
  • Difficulty in stress coping
  • Short temper
  • Disorganization
  • Causes

The exact causes of ADHD are still under research, but here we will discuss some of the known factors responsible for this illness:

Environmental Causes

Some environmental factors like the exposure of children to an atmosphere enriched in the lead

  •  polychlorinated biphenyls
  •  organophosphate
  •  chlorpyrifos
  •  dialkyl phosphate
  •  exposure to tobacco smoke
  •  exposure to nicotine during pregnancy
  • Genetical causes

ADHD, in many cases, is found to be transferred in generations due to defective genes. Some constituents that also affect low birth weight, premature birth, extreme neglect or social deprivation, and infections during pregnancy.

Developmental Anomalies

As we know, the nervous system is responsible for our body’s regular and proper functioning, and any anomaly in the nervous system can result in severe consequences. So Neurological problems during crucial developmental processes can become an element responsible for the mood disorders causing ADHD.

Although an anxiety attack has no proper definition based on symptoms and intensity, it is an emotional pain related to a ‘fight or flight response, and an unpleasant situation. When anxiety attacks, a person confronts certain uncomfortable feelings: danger, terror, constant and unreasonable intense fear. 

Anxiety vs Depression

Regardless of its lower intensity than a panic attack, it has acute effects on human mental health condition. In light of statistics, it has been evident that Anxiety is the most common psychotic disorder known to affect 40 million adults (18.1 percent of the total population) per year, 18 years old or above.

Symptoms of An Anxiety Attack 

Symptoms of an generalized anxiety disorder or attack are not usually less severe than ADHD but, at the same time, are also depressing. Fear, threat, sense of terror, feelings of alienation, depression association etc., are some common symptoms of an anxiety attack. Moreover, symptoms more or less vary from male to male and female to female. Symptoms are broached after this;

  • Bodily indications
  • Easily tired
  • Restlessness
  • Digestive dysfunction
  • Muscle tension in neck and shoulders
  • Sweaty or cold hands
  • Headaches
  • Somatic symptoms(sweating, nausea, diarrhea)
  • bruxism(grinding and clenching of teeth)
  • Heart pounding(palpitations)
  • Frequent urination
  • Psychogenic indications
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty in focusing
  • Feeling on edge
  • Racing thoughts
  • Temper tantrums
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Clinging behavior
  • Refusal to go to work or school
  • Fear of separation from dear ones
  • Irritability

As a result of more similarities and fewer distinctions, it is often found as a hard nut to crack when we need to distinguish between the two. Furthermore, the self answer to the following questions will help in diagnosing whether it is an ADHD or Anxiety problem:

  • Are you self-effacing?
  • Are you afraid of going to school or at work, or do you even feel homesick at such places?
  • Are you a worrier? Ask yourself if you have worries which often do not go regardless of what you do. And these worries often make it difficult for you to complete your tasks?
  • Do you get uneasy and disturbed whenever you have to leave your home?
  • Is there any family history of yours suffering from Anxiety or ADHD?

In many cases, an individual can tackle both of the diseases simultaneously, so in that case, it will be more fruitful to treat Anxiety first and then take measures to vanish the remaining signs of ADHD.

According to the Nation Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI), there are many similarities in ADHD and anxiety symptoms, so in many cases, patients suffering from Anxiety are misdiagnosed with ADHD. It will not impact badly if a person is suffering from both Anxiety and ADHD simultaneously. 

Causes and Effects of Insomnia from Anxiety

Otherwise, ADHD medication will prove worthless for moderating Anxiety. Meanwhile, it will aggravate Anxiety. So here we will look at some fundamental differences in symptoms of both of the diseases to avoid any inconvenience with your mental health:

Different Physical Symptoms

The main difference between ADHD and Anxiety can be decided by looking at their physical indications. In this case, Anxiety can be described by physical conditions like a faster heartbeat, hyperventilating, shaky or trembling hands, sweating, and stomach aches. You can differentiate from physical symptoms like poor self-control, spontaneousness, and inability to set or sit at a place for a more extended period. 

Different Focus And Distractibility Issues

The main difference between the two mental disorders can readily be devised by focusing on the reason for an individual not being focused and deciding whether a person is not focused because of easily distracted or because of twitchy and alarming thoughts. If a person is getting distracted or unfocused due to threatening and fearful thoughts, there are more chances of him suffering from an anxiety or panic disorder either. And if a person is not focused due to being easily unfocused or distracted, there are more chances of suffering from ADHD.

Creativity Difference

To be creative in your thinking requires a stress-free and threat-free mind. If you are continuously feeling anxious, twitchy, and having alarming thoughts in your mind, you will not be able to think creatively. On the other hand, it is found that people who have ADHD have higher creativity skills. ADHD enhances creativity, and researchers have shown that people suffering from ADHD score higher in creativity tests.

As there is much difference in symptoms of the two diseases which reflects their unique treatments. And if not treated rightly and adequately can aggravate the disease and cause serious health issues. So here, we will discuss the discriminating ways to cure ADHD and Anxiety disorders sufficiently.

Treatment For Anxiety

Treatments for anxiety disorder area in variety as its symptoms, and you should thoroughly look upon your symptoms to select the one suitable to you. Primarily, medications best cure anxiety disorder. It would help if you talked to your psychiatrist or doctor about the pros and cons of any medicine before making the best choice. These medicines range from antidepressants, benzodiazepines, bupropion, beta-blockers, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants to buspirones.

Psychotherapy And Counseling

Psychotherapy and counseling also significantly impact making positive amendments towards the recovery of the sufferer. Cognitive-behavioral therapy(CBT), a type of therapy in which a patient is taught to convert threatful, unpleasant, harmful, and anxiety-causing thoughts into positive and pleasant reviews, also proves very helpful.

Treatment For ADHD

As treatments for Anxiety vary according to symptoms, so is the case with the cure of ADHD. in many cases, it is seen that medication and counseling prove something extraordinary. Medicines that can give positive results in curing ADHD constitutes stimulants, amphetamine, methylphenidate, non-stimulant atomoxetine, bupropion, and antidepressants. Stimulants are evident to control and balance brain chemicals and neurotransmitters and help in coping with symptoms of ADHD like impulsiveness. 

Psychotherapy Sessions

Psychotherapy sessions go a long way in helping a person who has ADHD and helps a person understand the indications of the disease ways of getting rid of it. 

Psychological therapy may benefit you in the following ways:

  • Help you in raising good problem-resolving abilities
  • Help in learning how to cope with impulsive behavior
  • Improve your confidence and self-esteem
  • Assist in understanding how to improve relations with our family, friends, and relatives.
  • Aid in developing strategies for controlling your temper.

There may exist some factors that can play their role in causing ADHD or Anxiety. Here we will put light on common danger elements that seem to be related to ADHD vs. Anxiety:

Suicide Risk

A person battling Anxiety and ADHD often feels depressed, downcast, discouraged, and downhearted, so suicidal risk multiplies too many times in such individuals.


In such a condition patient always feel anxious and is so overthrown by such feelings that become inattentive to several vital tasks. And in ADHD also the inattention of the sufferer is a significant risk element.

Disturbed Social And Family Relationships

Patients suffering from Anxiety or ADHD usually face issues maintaining healthy and positive relationships due to excessive worry, excessive fear of rejection, poor impulse control, irregularly controlled emotions, and poor social skills.

Immoderate Fidgeting

Many signs of fidgeting can be seen in ADHD and anxiety sufferers, like move around needlessly, tip chairs, tap their feet, nail-biting, and poor impulse control.

The Lumbering Pace At the Workplace

People suffering from Anxiety and ADHD are often found struggling to achieve perfection due to their poor work management skills and focus problems.

Grievously, the effects are more pressing and scary. It has both short and long-term results. Regardless of the intensity of either disorder, both affect mentally, emotionally, psychologically, physically, and socially. Some alarming results are given below;

Short-Term Physical, Mental And Emotional Effects

  • Headaches
  • Discomfort
  • Lightheadedness
  • Less fear intensity
  • Fatigue
  • Use mind-altering drugs for natural chemical balance in the brain
  • Increase breathing rate
  • Stressful life for no reason
  • Weight gain due to excessive secretion of stress hormones 
  • Chest pain

Long-Term Social Effects

When the disease reaches a hazardous level, then the dangerous long-term effects become inevitable. Some significant effects are as follows;

  • Self-isolation- a sense of alienation from the rest of the society. Due to the uncontrolled intensity of fear and depression during the disorder, the victim may feel disconnected from others.
  • Agoraphobia develops after having at least one or more anxiety attacks.

Due to more similarities and fewer distinctions, the two ailments can be together called a package deal. But due to their dissimilarities in light of rules of medical science, one should critically look into the signs of the ailment to make a clear difference between them and opt for the best possible solution.

Both ADHD and Anxiety have their risk factors, indications, medications, and therapies. So look upon them keenly and sharply to clearly distinguish what you are combating.


The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


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