ADD and Anxiety

ADD and Anxiety

If you’re impulsive or nervous, people may think it’s a quirk of your personality. But if you combine these with frustration which hampers daily functioning, you may have ADD/ADHD and anxiety. These symptoms typically appear in children but can also crop up during adulthood. But they are manageable.

What Is ADD?

Diagnosis and understanding of mental illnesses continue to evolve, and that’s the case with attention-deficit disorder (ADD). It’s an older term, pre-1987, which was used to primarily describe children who exhibited signs of inability to stay focused or hold their attention. Around the early 1990s, diagnosis evolved to include aspects of hyperactivity, and the term is now accepted as ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). As many as six million children experience symptoms of ADD/ADHD.

ADD Symptoms

Most people with ADD/ADHD are first diagnosed as children, but adults often show symptoms later in life.

  • You’re impulsive, disorganized, or can’t prioritize
  • You are bad at time management
  • Trouble focusing on a task or multitasking
  • Too much activity or restlessness
  • Bad planning
  • Easily frustrated
  • Frequent mood changes
  • You’re quick to anger
  • You have problems coping with stress
  • Problems with instructions
  • Poor listening skills
  • Memory problems

Symptoms can often be treated with psychotherapy, self-help, or ketamine.

What is Anxiety?

Occasional anxiety happens as part of everyday life. You might be anxious when confronted with a tense situation at work, before taking an exam, or before arriving at an important decision. Anxiety disorders are different and include more than short-term worry or fear. The anxiety doesn’t go away for someone with an anxiety disorder and can worsen over time. The symptoms can intrude upon your daily responsibilities like job performance, relationships, or schoolwork.

Anxiety Symptoms

Symptoms of anxiety or more severe anxiety disorders can differ for everyone, but generally, they include one or more of the following:

  • Nervousness, restlessness, or tension
  • Feeling threatened, fear, or dread
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fast breathing
  • Heavy sweating
  • Trembles or twitching muscles
  • Physical weakness
  • Problems focusing on anything other than what you’re presently worried about
  • Sleep problems
  • Digestive or gastrointestinal problems (gas, constipation, diarrhea, etc.)
  • A strong urge to avoid something that triggers your anxiety symptoms

ADD and Anxiety

What About “Anxious ADD?”

If you exhibit ADD/ADHD and anxiety symptoms, you could be diagnosed with “anxious anxiety.” People with anxious ADD have the same symptoms as someone with another type of ADD/ADHD but may experience anxiety more often. One of the hallmarks of someone with ADD/ADHD is that these people more often look for excitement and even take on impulsive or risky behavior. In contrast, someone with anxious ADD will usually avoid risks and unaccustomed situations. If your symptoms are inappropriate for the situation or restrict you from functioning normally, you may suffer from an anxiety disorder.

Coping Tips for Anxiety

  • Be accepting of downtime. Try yoga, enjoy some music, meditate, schedule a massage, or try relaxation techniques. Retreating from some of these problems will help clear your head.
  • Eat nutritious meals. Try to avoid overeating or becoming reliant on high-calorie comfort foods. Make sure to have healthy, energy-boosting snacks within reach.
  • Cut back on anxiety-boosting alcohol and caffeine, which can trigger panic attacks.
  • Sleep helps reduce stress, so be responsive when your body says it’s time to rest.
  • Exercise daily to feel invigorated and boost your wellness.
  • Breathe deeply and exhale slowly. Then slowly count to 10. Repeat, and count up to 20 if needed.

Coping Tips for ADD/ADHD

  • Stay organized.
  • Stay focused.
  • Establish simple deadlines and strive to meet them.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Adjust “on the fly” with whatever life throws your way.
  • Sleep is important, so schedule your life around it.

Many symptoms can be managed.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In most cases, diagnosis involves:

  • A physical examination by a medical doctor to uncover any underlying conditions that may cause your symptoms.
  • A psychiatric assessment by a mental health specialist determines if your emotions, thoughts, or behavior drives the symptoms or if you have a personal or family history of mental illness. Your doctor may ask you to fill out a questionnaire and ask permission to speak with family and friends about your condition.
  • Comparing your symptoms with criteria in the DSM-5.

Once ADD/ADHD and/or anxiety has been diagnosed, your doctor may recommend psychotherapy, group therapy, certain medicine, or ketamine infusion.

Final Thoughts

If you suffer from ADHD or anxiety, don’t wait for either’s symptoms to affect your life severely. When ignored, mental health conditions can have serious repercussions, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Contact us today for more information on treatment options.

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