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ADHD & Anxiety

By Eileen Bailey

Anxiety is the fear or worry that we feel about events in our lives. It can occur because of some specific reason, such as when we worry about the first day of a new job or when we don’t seem to have enough money to pay our bills. Anxiety can also occur without reason; some people seem to worry endlessly.  For most people, normal anxiety is controllable and causes little dysfunction in our lives. For others, however, the intense distress they feel can disrupt and interfere with their daily activities.  There is a distinct difference between being nervous about beginning a new job and worrying to the point that you are not able to function or think clearly.  Anxiety is considered to be a common co-existing condition with ADHD.

Children also experience anxiety. Children without an anxiety disorder may be concerned or scared about an upcoming event, such as the first day of school. However, children with an anxiety disorder can often become obsessed with worry.

Some recent studies have shown that one fourth of children with ADHD exhibit some symptoms of an anxiety disorder, while between just five percent and 15 percent of children in the general population are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. These results would imply a high incident rate of anxiety disorders in children with ADHD. 

Some of the major symptoms of anxiety disorder include:

  • Anxious and/or fearful feelings without an apparent cause.
  • Chronic, exaggerated worry.
  • Problems with concentration or distractibility.
  • Insomnia

In addition, anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach Aches
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness

If you, or your child, are showing or experiencing symptoms of anxiety, you should speak directly with your physician and discuss options.

There are a number of different categories of Anxiety Disorder:

  • The most common type of anxiety disorder is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder and affects approximately 5 percent of the American population. 
  • People with Panic Disorder normally have attacks of anxiety and terror that normally last anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
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