560 Springfield Ave, Suite I, Westfield, NJ 07090

(908) 215-2331 | moc.nikoruen%40olleh

560 Springfield Ave, Suite I, Westfield, NJ 07090

(908) 215-2331 | moc.nikoruen%40olleh

Patient Portal

Do I Have Anxiety or ADHD?

Do I Have Anxiety or ADHD?

If you’re noticing behavioral or psychological symptoms of ADHD or anxiety for the first time, it can be overwhelming. With all the misinformation and inadequate self-assessment tools floating around the internet, it’s probably confusing too. 

The good news is, it won’t be when you finish this article. We’re here to explain everything you need to know about ADHD and anxiety, including what to do when you’re ready to treat your symptoms.  

What is ADHD?

First, ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders beginning in childhood. Typically, symptoms become apparent in childhood, though this is not always the case. 

Some symptoms that caregivers recognize in children with ADHD include, but are not limited to:

  1. daydreaming a lot
  2. forgetting or losing things often
  3. squirming or fidgeting
  4. talking “too much”
  5. making careless mistakes or taking unnecessary risks
  6. having a hard time resisting temptation
  7. having difficulty taking turns
  8. having difficulty getting along with others

There are three types of ADHD, whose symptoms can overlap and present differently from person to person. These are the three types of ADHD:

  1. Predominantly Inattentive Presentation
  2. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation
  3. Combined Presentation

ADHD symptoms and presentation can also vary across genders and ages. More often, women are realizing in adulthood that they’ve been living with ADHD their whole lives but were not diagnosed or were misdiagnosed because their symptoms present according to socialized gender norms and behaviors. Subscribe to our blog for future articles about ADHD symptoms in women and adults.

What is anxiety?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is an involuntary and extreme feeling of worry or dread that is unrelated to stressful life events. GAD creates persistent nervousness or worry in 6.8 million American adults.

Some symptoms that some people with GAD exhibit include, but are not limited to:

  1. worrying excessively about everyday things
  2. having trouble controlling their worries or feelings of nervousness
  3. knowing that they worry much more than they should
  4. feeling restless or having trouble relaxing
  5. having a hard time concentrating
  6. startling easily
  7. having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  8. getting tired easily or feeling tired all the time
  9. having headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains
  10. having difficulty swallowing
  11. trembling or twitching
  12. chronically sweaty hands
  13. feeling irritable or "on edge"
  14. sweating a lot, feeling lightheaded or out of breath
  15. having to go to the bathroom frequently

People who suffer from GAD sometimes experience physical symptoms, too, like tightness in the chest, pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

Like ADHD, anxiety disorders often run in families, but their causes are unknown. There is a possible genetic correlation for both disorders, and researchers are also studying environmental trauma and other pregnancy and early childhood-related exposures, like environmental toxins, tobacco and alcohol use, premature birth, and low birth weight. 

Whether you have anxiety or ADHD, you may experience some overlapping symptoms.

Anxiety or ADHD: A Look at the Symptoms

Part of the reason it can be so difficult to discern between ADHD or anxiety is that symptoms of inattentive adhd and anxiety are very similar and sometimes the same. It can be challenging for cognitive health specialists to differentiate between ADHD and anxiety symptoms if your symptoms could apply to either mental health condition. This can be further complicated when your health care professional is considering a diagnosis of ADHD vs. depression and anxiety.

Here is a list of ADHD symptoms, with overlapping signs of anxiety in bold:

  • difficulty concentrating or paying attention
  • trouble completing tasks
  • forgetfulness
  • distractedness
  • inability to relax or feelings of restlessness
  • fidgeting or difficulty sitting still
  • impatience, such as difficulty waiting or interrupting people
  • difficulty listening to and following instructions
  • inability to focus for long periods of time
  • trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • difficulty with executive function

Here is a list of anxiety symptoms, with overlapping symptoms in bold:

  • chronic feelings of worry or nervousness
  • fear without an obvious cause
  • Irritability
  • trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • headaches and stomachaches
  • symptoms of panic such as rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, or sweating
  • inability to relax or feelings of restlessness
  • difficulty concentrating or paying attention

There are more possible symptoms and manifestations of both GAD and ADHD, some of which also overlap. That’s part of why it’s so important to get a correct diagnosis and not trust a gimmicky online test for expert results.

Professionals tend to look for several or more of these symptoms that affect the quality of life or success in daily life. 

Is adult ADHD and anxiety different from ADHD and anxiety in children?

Anxiety and ADHD in adults can look very different from symptoms of anxiety and ADHD in children. This is for a number of reasons, including stages of cognitive development and our understanding of social structures and behavioral norms.

Keep one eye on our blog for an upcoming article explaining this topic more. 

What to do if I think I have ADHD

If you think you have ADHD, it’s important to find out for sure. ADHD is commonly underdiagnosed, especially in women, who sometimes don’t seek a diagnosis until their children with anxiety disorders or psychiatric disorders are diagnosed. 

Hundreds of online screening tools claim to offer diagnoses in just a few minutes. These screening tools can be a good first step but can only give an accurate diagnosis when considered with other aspects of your health history. 

At Neurokin, we strive to deliver the right diagnosis for adult ADHD the first time, and will work with you to develop a comprehensive care plan that works. Get the support you need, a proper diagnosis, and care you can trust. To get started, get in touch with us today.