ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is hard to diagnose or is made complicated when accompanied by an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), claustrophobia and agoraphobia can be observed in patients who have been diagnosed with ADHD. It has been found that nearly half the population of adults suffering from ADHD are prone to suffer from an anxiety disorder that considerably impairs their ability to function.
Children with ADHD exhibit a combination of impulsiveness, inattention and hyperactivity often growing up into adults with ADHD and a continued inability to focus. The findings of a recent study on the combined effect of anxiety disorders and ADHD in children show how it leads to a poorer quality of life as they find it hard to get along with their peers.
The levels of impairment caused by ADHD coupled with anxiety may vary according to the severity of the symptoms and the environment an individual has to operate in. For example a student with ADHD may suffer from severe social anxiety as he finds it difficult to follow conversations and hence may get socially alienated for being a misfit at social gatherings. Situations where ADHD patients get a negative feedback on their efforts to gel in with the rest of the crowd often result in an increase in their level of anxiety.
Treatment Strategies for ADHD and Anxiety
Proper diagnosis by a health professional is crucial before beginning the treatment for ADHD and the specific anxiety disorder accompanying it. Factors like personal history, mental-status testing and symptoms like early developmental trouble should be taken into account before zeroing in on the overlapping symptoms of impulsiveness and emotional instability.
The simultaneous occurrence of ADHD and anxiety disorders can be quite a challenge for the therapists as a wrong diagnosis or clinical neglect can lead to a complete therapeutic failure. Although the treatment for ADHD centers around unconventional therapy, it can be quite intimidating for individuals struggling with anxiety issues.
The self-critical streak in a person with anxiety issues can be an impediment in treating ADHD as it focuses on self acceptance to overcome the problem. To avoid further complications it is advisable to seek the services of a psychotherapist who is an expert in both Anxiety disorders and ADHD. Cognitive Behavioral Therapies(CBT) that focus on thinking patterns and overcoming a negative frame of mind through controlled exposure to threatening situations will help develop tolerance for anxiety issues.
Practicing Mindfulness helps a self-critical individual to accept his thoughts to bring down anxiety levels as well as ADHD. Although some stimulant drug therapies for ADHD are known to aggravate the anxiety issues if co-related, proper drug therapy can be administered if the anxiety issues are found to be independent of the ADHD.
It is crucial to be around positive minded individuals as exposure to negative and cynical individuals can be quite harming for people suffering from ADHD. The anxiety issues can be triggered easily in individuals with ADHD if they feel criticized or judged by people around them, hence a warm and friendly circle of friends or a support group should be sought out by individuals with ADHD.