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Testing for ADHD: Is it Anxiety or ADHD?

When testing for ADHD, it’s important to consider the role of anxiety in an individual’s life. Along with symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety are extremely common when focusing difficulties are in the picture.

image What can vary, however, is the source of the anxiety. Is it ADHD that’s causing secondary symptoms of anxiety? Is it anxiety that’s causing focusing difficulties? Is it a fun combination of both?

If ADHD truly is in the picture, it makes sense that an individual could feel secondary symptoms of anxiety. When you have difficulty coping with symptoms of ADHD, it can be frustrating. It can be overwhelming. It can cause worry, rumination, avoidance, and more.

On the other end, anxiety on its own can lead to symptoms that look like ADHD, such as difficulty concentrating, difficulty staying on task, and restlessness. For example, if you’re paralyzed by anxiety, it can be extremely difficult to sit down and focus on what you need to do.


This is why it’s so important to seek out a professional who truly knows ADHD, what it looks like, and what it doesn’t look like.

Anecdotally, we often have people come through our doors who have been wrongly identified on either end. It’s an extremely frustrating experience having gone through sometimes years of treatment, only to realize that you haven’t been dealing with the root cause of your difficulties, such as symptoms of ADHD.

To be fair, it’s not a perfect science. Things are never black and white.

But, it’s certainly worth the effort seeking out the appropriate supports as a first step: a thorough medical assessment and a professional who truly knows their stuff.

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