Is it ADHD or Anxiety: Part One

If you happen to know a young person who is struggling with anxiety, I highly recommend enrolling them in ‘The Overcome Anxiety Programme’. This program, which takes 10 weeks to complete, has been scientifically proven to boost confidence, reduce anxiety, and alleviate feelings of depression. In fact, a university-led study has shown significant reductions in anxiety and depression among the children who participated in the program. Don’t hesitate to visit to learn more and sign up!

Now, let’s delve into the intriguing connection between ADHD and anxiety. It’s important to note that ADHD and anxiety can sometimes exhibit similar symptoms, but that shouldn’t discourage you from seeking a diagnosis. Getting the right treatment is crucial, even though the waiting list for such services can be quite lengthy. If you’re eager to explore potential solutions before receiving a diagnosis or even applying for one, I suggest focusing on the symptoms that appear to be anxiety-related.

Typically, individuals with ADHD tend to live in the present moment, often disregarding the long-term consequences of their actions. However, this characteristic doesn’t apply to everyone with ADHD, as it is just one of the common traits observed in my therapy clinic. On the other hand, those with anxiety are preoccupied with future events and potential outcomes, displaying a strong focus on what lies ahead. So, while individuals with ADHD are more “now” focused, those with anxiety are more future-oriented.

Our anxious individuals are constantly fixated on the future, but what we also observe is that the impact of their anxiety extends beyond their worries about the future. It affects their present moment, right here and right now. When someone with anxiety intends to attend a party next week, it’s during the actual moment that we start to see their emotions surface or witness resistant behaviour.

At that very moment, it becomes evident that they struggle to regulate themselves and cope with the situation. Similarly, individuals with ADHD may also face difficulties when confronted with immediate decisions or pressures. There can be an overlap in what we observe when an event or situation presents itself to us.

Another reason for the potential overlap or similarities between ADHD and anxiety lies in their ability to concentrate. Individuals with ADHD may find it challenging to focus because their brain is wired in a way that inhibits concentration unless the task at hand truly captivates them. If they find something enjoyable, they can concentrate on it extremely well. However, if they have no interest, their attention can wander in various directions.

For individuals with ADHD, it becomes nearly impossible for them to tune in if they are not engaged with a particular task. It requires a significant amount of energy for them to cultivate attention when it doesn’t come naturally to them.

Individuals with anxiety often struggle with concentration and paying attention to things. This is not because they lack the ability to concentrate, but rather because their thoughts are consumed by worries and future concerns. As a result, they find it difficult to focus on the present moment. This can sometimes resemble symptoms of ADHD, even though they have the capability to pay attention to things. It’s important to note that this is not due to any neurological differences, as we might see in individuals with ADHD. Instead, it is simply a result of feeling overwhelmed and lacking the capacity to process additional information. Their minds are already overloaded with sensory and internal data, leaving no room for anything else to capture their attention.

Next month I will further look into the similarities between Anxiety and ADHD. For 1.1 support, please contact the office on 02023 6677294 or


By Gemma Bailey

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