8 thoughts on “How Anxiety Changes ADHD Symptoms With Age

  • June 29, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    This is very interesting.

    My kiddo (age 7, comorbid ADHD and anxiety), seems to be in that rare group in which he currently exhibits all of teen and adult manifestations (hyperactivity, poor working memory, insomnia, etc.).

    It’ll be interesting to see how this research progresses.

    • July 1, 2019 at 2:06 am

      Thanks for commenting! To some extent, ADHDers of all ages can experience all of those symptoms, even if anxiety apparently exaggerates certain symptoms in certain age groups. And of course, any individual ADHDer can see some symptoms become more or less pronounced over time! I know that the way my ADHD symptoms showed up changed when I was a teenager even if the fact that I had ADHD didn’t.

  • July 1, 2019 at 9:48 am

    I found your article thru the ILS site. My adopted 13 year old has an anxiety disorder and is ADD. We are also having him tested for an audio processing disorder. He has exhibited bipolar symptoms (his biological father is severely bipolar and biological mother has anxiety disorder-they are also drug addicts and he was born cocaine addicted which has manifested into carb and sugar addiction) we have found two supplements that helped tremendously, but as he has entered puberty we see some issues escalating.
    When he was 7 years old he told me his anger issues were going to ruin his life. He didn’t understand why he was angry and didn’t like feeling that way. I did a lot of research and discovered thru Dr. Ben Lynch that people who were bipolar usually had the genetic defect MthFr. This causes a barrier in the brain that prevents folic acid into methylfolate. We started using the multi vitamin with methylfolate and methylated B vitamins and it has totally changed his behavior. If he misses a day or two of this supplement the bipolar symptoms reappear. Within 30 minutes of taking methylfolate he is our sweet child again. Recently we added a supplement called Calm Child and it reduces his anxiety issues tremendously. With these supplements he is able to focus better, but still not at a nuero-typical level. We are looking into CBT with a physiologist in the area who specializes in ADHD. I never considered him having the hyperactivity of ADHD, but your article has helped me see that his anxiety could affect this by putting a damper on the hyperactivity issue. Can you tell me what is the clinical explanation of the differences between ADD and ADHD ? Do you think CBT can help him learn coping skills to deal with those times when he is feeling overwhelmed and frustrated? Also, what us your opinion on Dr. Daniel Amen’s studies on Brain scans and the 7 different types of ADD he has identified? Thank you! I like the way you explain things and am interested in learning more from you.

    • July 3, 2019 at 11:29 pm

      Hi Valerie, thanks for commenting and sharing your son’s story. Yes, it sounds like you’re absolutely on the right track by looking into CBT. Therapy won’t make your son’s ADHD symptoms go away, but it will potentially give him more tools for dealing with his ADHD symptoms. CBT can also be helpful for anxiety, so it might be doubly useful in that way for your son. I think therapy is a must for ADHDers, so it’s great you’re looking into that. You may also want to discuss with your therapist or another mental health professional whether your son would benefit from meds.

      We know that conditions like ADHD and bipolar disorder have a genetic/biological basis, but there’s still a lot we don’t know about how exactly that works. The genetics of these conditions are much more complex than being able to say there is one particular gene that’s important or that there are seven subtypes — so you should be aware that these theories aren’t widely accepted by the scientific community.

      As far as the difference between “ADD” and ADHD, it’s really all just called “ADHD” now, and you can have ADHD with or without hyperactive symptoms and with or without inattentive symptoms. You should definitely look up lists of these symptoms and discuss it with your therapist too.

      Speaking as someone with ADHD and not a doctor, I think CBT can definitely help with building the coping skills you mention. It’s also good that you’ve found a therapist who’s experienced with ADHD. And in case by some chance that doesn’t work out, you can always try another therapist too. Best of luck!

  • July 2, 2019 at 8:57 am

    I was diagnosed with ADHD in my 30’s, and my anxiety has increased over the years. I live with my adult daughter, still work at 63, and I pay the majority of the bills. So I worry about the bills all going up, if I will be able to pay them. I worry about not doing my job well enough and getting fired. I worry about my pets and the fact I can’t take them to the vet as often as I should, about something going wrong with my car I can’t fix, etc., you get the picture. but a problem I’m trying to solve is where to start for help. What kind of doctor/counselor do I start with?

    • July 3, 2019 at 11:38 pm

      Hi Cyndy, the kinds of doctors that are most relevant to you are going to be therapists and psychiatrists, who can prescribe meds. I think when you’re dealing with ADHD + anxiety, a therapist is the best place to start, preferably a therapist who has experience with ADHD specifically. You can either search for therapists (or psychiatrists) in your area who meet these criteria, or you could ask your GP to refer you to someone. Best of luck!

  • July 2, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    As a therapist I regularly see clients who are diagnosed with ADHD. My opinion is that chronic anxiety causes clusters of symptoms that are called ADHD. The formal diagnosis (something I do not subscribe to as it is superficial and incomplete) has the effect of deflecting proper exploration of causes, leaving the sufferer with responsibility for their own distress, which is in fact caused by their experiences. This may seem to run counter to the opinion of people who do not observe anxiety in those diagnosed with ADHD (including sufferers) but I have observed many people who display anxiety but are unaware of it themselves. This is what really needs research.

    • July 3, 2019 at 11:47 pm

      I’m hearing a lot about your “opinion” and what you’ve “observed,” but there’s actually extensive scientific research on this topic that’s much more methodical, well-designed, detailed, exhaustive, balanced and thoroughly scrutinized than the subjective viewpoint of any one person. That research is the basis for the diagnosis of ADHD. If you simply don’t “subscribe” to the diagnosis of ADHD at all, you are ignoring science and are doing your patients a disservice.


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