It is important to clarify the difference between ADHD and anxiety in adults as it can sometimes be misdiagnosed.
Adults experiencing symptoms of ADHD can be misdiagnosed with anxiety and thus prescribed anti-anxiety medication. The trouble with this is, that after some time of taking the medication, the adult often feels helpless and frustrated that most of their symptoms still remain. Often these individuals will trial many different types of anti-anxiety medication before it is picked up that their symptoms are more consistent with an ADHD diagnosis. So let’s define the two.
ADHD in Adults
Common symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in adults include:
- Being easily distracted;
- Difficulty listening and maintaining attention/concentration;
- Difficulty retaining information;
- Difficulty getting organised;
- Difficulty seeing a task through until it is finished;
- Difficulty being on time;
- Difficulty relaxing;
- Feeling restless;
- Difficulty regulating emotions (eg may be quick to anger);
- Fatigue and difficulty sleeping;
- Racing thoughts.
What Anxiety in Adults May Look Like
Anxiety in adults may manifest with symptoms such as:
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep;
- Poor concentration;
- Nervous or restless;
- Light headedness or dizziness;
- Shortness of breath;
- Depressed mood;
- Heart palpitations.
Research suggests that ADHD and anxiety can be diagnosed at the same time and often occur together. It is important to distinguish between the two as this can impact on treatment planning and medication management.
If you are experiencing some of the symptoms above and are unsure which you most relate to, please book an appointment with me so we can clarify what is going on for you and identify the appropriate treatment. People often report significant improvement in their life once they gain clarity with their diagnosis and begin to access the right treatment.
Leia Redman is a clinical psychologist, working with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. She has training and experience in a variety of evidence-based treatment approaches, and aims to create an open and trusting environment where clients are empowered to take steps towards living a meaningful life, and becoming the best version of themselves.
To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist Leia Redman try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.
- American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (5th Edition). Arlington, United States of America.