It’s fairly common for children with ADHD to deal with anxiety as well. In fact, the two conditions have so many similarities that one can often be mistaken for the other. Here’s why children with ADHD are particularly susceptible to anxiety.
Forgetfulness and Distraction
Your child is probably prone to forgetting things and getting distracted during moments when they should be paying attention. If your child is aware of their forgetful tendencies, they might worry about getting all of their schoolwork done on time, remembering everything they need for the upcoming school day or an after-school activity or keeping track of other important things that they should be doing.
It can be very frustrating for a child who knows that they get distracted easily but doesn’t know how to solve this issue.
Fear of Getting in Trouble
Children with ADHD are likely to be reprimanded in school. A teacher might get frustrated with your child for forgetting their homework, asking questions about something they have already explained, or letting their attention wander during lessons.
Naturally, your child might start to worry about getting in trouble when they go to school. They might try to hide this anxiety and act like everything is fine at school. But deep down, they feel nervous about going in each day.
Lacking Sense of Control
Lots of children with ADHD feel like they don’t have much control over themselves. Of course, kids don’t have the same level of control over their actions as adults, but for kids with ADHD, gaining agency over their own actions can feel especially challenging.
They might feel ashamed of themselves for acting out at times when they needed to be quiet or polite, or for forgetting to do assignments they knew they should have completed. Children can struggle with guilt and shame when adults are disappointed in them, and this can be especially common for kids with ADHD.
Difficulty With Emotional Regulation
Emotional regulation does not come naturally to young children. Learning to regulate their emotions is something that every child will get accustomed to as the years go on and they approach adulthood. It’s something that every adult still struggles with at times, too.
But emotional regulation can be particularly difficult for kids with ADHD, and dealing with “big” emotions, like fear, anger, or even happiness, can send them into an anxious spiral. They might not know how to express these emotions in a happy way, and the intensity of their feelings can lead to anxiety.
Many people do not realize that ADHD can come with physical symptoms, too. Your child might have trouble sleeping, or they might forget to eat when they’re distracted by another task. They may feel like they have lots of energy to get out of their system without an outlet to turn to.
These symptoms can contribute to anxiety. If your child is tired, hungry, or simply trying to deal with pent-up energy, they might feel physically uncomfortable. This can exacerbate feelings of anxiety. Children with ADHD may need help sticking to healthy routines to avoid this.
Is your child struggling with anxiety and ADHD? Working with a therapist can help Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.