5 Ways ADHD Can Cause Anxiety

A graphic of a woman sitting and covering her face. This could symbolize the struggles with anxiety symptoms that ADHD treatment in Ohio can help you cope with. Learn more about anxiety symptoms by searching “what are anxiety symptoms” today.

Fear is anxiety provoking.

When was the last time you sat at your work computer feeling fear that your boss or coworkers would realize you had no idea what you were doing? Do you ever lay awake at night feeling fear that talking too much in a social situation will lead to rejection? Many adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) fear that no matter how many times they succeed, get invited to the party, or even receive praise, rejection or failure is lurking around the corner. While ADHD and anxiety are two separate conditions, they often occur together. According to a 2017 meta-analysis in BMC psychiatry, about 80% of adults with ADHD have another diagnosis. For about half of them, it’s an anxiety disorder. However, how can ADHD cause anxiety? The answers might surprise you.

How ADHD can cause anxiety (and even make it worse):

ADHD in Childhood (Which Means Anxiety in Childhood)A graphic of a person plagued by phantom hands and eyes. Learn how ADHD treatment for adults in Ohio can help you navigate anxiety symptoms. Search “what are anxiety symptoms Columbus, OH” to learn more today.

If you have adult ADHD, then you had at least some symptoms in childhood. A study in 2021 suggests that because ADHD symptoms emerge in childhood, so do the co-occurring anxiety disorders. Why? The childhood brain is highly vulnerable. This means what gets wired in during childhood gets wired in pretty deep. It takes time and works to untangle these fears. One approach is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and ADHD, which is an evidence-based treatment that helps to rewire anxiety-provoking thoughts.

Procrastination and Tardiness 

Many adults with ADHD struggle with turning things in late or getting started right before a deadline. They will tell you that no matter how hard they try, they are often a couple of minutes late. It’s anxiety-provoking to have the best of intentions but continue to miss the mark at times. If you feel blindsided by your own mind often enough, it’s bound to increase a fear response. The irony is that increased fear increases ADHD symptoms, which can lead to…

A graphic of a smiling woman typing on her laptop next to her cat. This could represent looking up anxiety symptoms in Columbus, OH and their link to ADHD. Learn more about ADHD treatment for adults in Ohio and other services today.Perfectionism 

Perfectionism is often a coping skill for ADHD, as adults feel that they can reduce the likelihood of errors by working 1,000 times harder than the situation requires. But in reality, perfect never comes (for anyone). The ADHD perfectionist is then left chasing after ideals that reinforce fears of failure after they are either unmet or so painful to meet that other parts of life take a hit.

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

Rejection-sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is when you experience an extreme reaction to real or perceived rejection. Unique to ADHD, RSD causes a particular form of anxiety. RSD has many ADHD people overestimating the possibility of rejection or failure. This often leads a person to be hyper-aware of cues in their environment that might indicate disapproval. However, these are typically based on past experiences (often from childhood) that have now become general assumptions and fears. Even if a person is outwardly well-liked, RSD makes it so that rejection seems always on the table. RSD then leads to excessive avoidance of risk, passive communication, or people-pleasing, all of which can undercut a person’s confidence (and cause more anxiety).

Emotional DysregulationA graphic of a man sitting and meditating for Focused Mind ADHD Counseling. Learn more about ADHD treatment in Ohio and its support for overcoming anxiety symptoms in Columbus, Ohio. Search “what are anxiety symptoms” for more support today.

In order to regulate anxiety, a person needs to be able to regulate emotions in general. However, adults with ADHD struggle with the “off-switch” between their emotional brain and the thinking part of their brain. This means that when fear takes over, it’s overwhelming and can escalate. An ADHD adult must be very intentional in working with their actions and finding coping skills for stress and anxiety in order to find a place of calm. For example, building better lifestyle habits (e.g. movement, diet, etc.) and organizing one’s life are all linked to improved stress management.

Learn to find your calm with ADHD treatment for anxiety in Columbus, OH 

You don’t have to live your life feeling overwhelmed. ADHD treatment that uses psychologically proven strategies will help you find real understanding and real solutions. Our Columbus OH-based counseling practice has caring adult ADHD specialists. To start your journey with one of our adult ADHD specialists, follow these simple steps: 

  • Fill out the contact form to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.
  • Meet with one of our adult ADHD specialists.
  • Stop feeling on edge. Start finding your calm.

Other ADHD Services Offered at Focused Mind ADHD Counseling 

We offer a variety of mental health services that go beyond adult ADHD treatment at our Columbus, OH counseling practice. As an adult with ADHD, Focused Mind ADHD Counseling understands you may also benefit from anxiety treatment for ADHD, counseling for men with ADHD, adult ADHD testing, or depression counseling for ADHD. You can also view our blog for more resources and helpful info. We look forward to connecting with you!