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Difference Between Anxiety and ADHD

Anxiety Vs ADHD

Anxiety, the disorder, and ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are often confused with each other because their symptoms are somewhat the same, although not all of them.

Nevertheless, if you will talk about anxiety, as a symptom, it is actually a natural response when somebody is stressed out. By definition, anxiety is a type of worry or fear of something that is not so known. Even intangible fears (those that don’t have any physical sources) can be a cause of too much anxiety to a person. It is this particular fear of a certain ‘unknown’ that makes anxiety a complex experience.

The anxiety may manifest in various physical and psychological forms and also varies in degree or severity. If it goes way off board like when someone worries unreasonably for a prolonged period of time (already affecting his or her daily functioning), that’s the moment anxiety becomes unnatural – further evolving into what is known as anxiety disorder. This type of ailment has many sub classes like phobia and GAD.

Statistically, ADHD is said to affect about 5% of all children in the U.S. alone. This is actually quite much considering that the disorder can last up to adulthood most especially if it does not get resolved in the childhood years. There are more children suffering from anxiety disorder. Approximately 18% of all Americans may be experiencing one or more forms of anxiety disorder.

When you talk about the anxiety symptom, it naturally affects over 40 million adults in America. Anxiety is normally one of the many symptoms of ADHD. As a matter of fact, it has been estimated that 25% of ADHD patients also have a coexisting anxiety disorders.

Talking about the symptoms, the major anxiety disorder symptoms are the following: extreme fearful feelings with or without (usually without) an identifiable cause, intensified worrying, difficulty in concentrating, sleeplessness or insomnia and easy distractibility. There can also be some physical manifestations of anxiety disorder like headaches, nausea, profuse sweating, lightheadedness, irritability and stomach pains. With regard to ADHD, it has similar symptoms to anxiety disorder but theses are classified under three dominant hallmark categories namely: inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive.

1. Anxiety can both be a symptom and a disorder itself while ADHD is a neuro-biologic ailment.

2. Anxiety, as a symptom, is part of ADHD and not vice versa.

3. Generally, there are more sufferers of anxiety disorder than ADHD.

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  1. I have every single symptom listed for ADHD, but I sometimes wonder if I really have anxiety. I highly doubt this since I do not feel fearful or anything remotely like that. I am just VERY impatient, I can’t stop fidgeting, I can’t stop thinking, I can’t pay attention, I am highly impulsive, and I can hardly sleep. A friend of mine wonders if I really have anxiety, but I do not think I do. I think I have ADHD.

    I am only 15 years old and I have never been diagnosed with ADHD – not as a child. I haven’t really spoke to my parents about this, either. I am new to all of this, and I have just been displaying all of the ADHD symptoms. Sometimes, though, I am anxious – but I do not think I have “anxiety”. At least I don’t think I do. And I know that ADHD is a relatively heretic disorder, but no one in my family has it – not that I know of anyway. BUT, my mother has been known to suffer from anxiety every once in a while and my uncle has panic attacks all the time.

    Do I have anxiety? Or is it ADHD? – because I think I have ADHD, and not anxiety. And is it not impossible to have ADHD without inheriting it? Because I think it is. Not too sure though. I’m not a doctor.


    -Izzie B.

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