Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) occurs when a person finds it difficult to concentrate, behaves impulsively, and has over-active tendencies (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012). A person who suffers from ADHD will find that it affects every aspect of his or her daily life.
Anxiety occurs when a person feels a stronger form of fear or stress regarding situations. Anxiety may occur for a reason, such as prior to a surgery, or for some individuals anxiety is a daily occurrence over smaller scenarios, such as driving a vehicle or being in public places (Bailey, 2012). With anxiety there is a healthy range that most people will experience at some point, and there is an unhealthy range in which the anxiety affects the person’s daily life.
It is very common that anxiety and ADHD will coexist within a patient (Bailey, 2012). Some patients who live with both ADHD and anxiety will find that the two syndromes can feed off of each other.
For example, when an individual with ADHD is baking in the kitchen, he or she may become frazzled and feel as though staying on track is impossible, and therefore become overwhelmed. This may lead into the person experiencing a heightened sense of anxiety because of feeling as though he or she is not in control of the situation. The anxiety will make it even more difficult for the individual to focus, thereby empowering the ADHD symptoms.
An effective form of treatment for patients living with both ADHD and anxiety is Psychotherapy. This form of treatment focuses on the fundamental causes of both disorders. Through psychotherapy the patient will learn how to cope with the symptoms of both ADHD and anxiety (Stannard, 2012).
According to the American Psychological Association of America, cognitive behavioral therapy is the most recommended form of psychotherapy for patients living with both disorders. This is because cognitive behavior therapy helps the patient learn to identify specific triggers of symptoms and how to overcome them. The patient can also learn relaxation techniques as a form of coping skills through behavior therapy (Stannard, 2012).
Exposure therapy is another form of behavioral therapy in which the therapist will expose the patient to different anxiety triggers and therefore desensitize the patient to those triggers. The therapist will also teach the patient coping mechanisms for when faced with various high-anxiety scenarios (Stannard, 2012).
The patient may also benefit from a form of therapy that focuses on the ADHD aspect, which is called Social Skills Therapy. This form of therapy concentrates on the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms of ADHD (Stannard, 2012).
A more multi-facetted form of therapy is Family Therapy (Stannard, 2012). Through family therapy, the therapist addresses any questions, concerns, or struggles that other members of the patient’s family may be experiencing because of the patient’s ADHD and anxiety. The therapist will help educate the family on the two syndromes, and teach the family as a whole how to work together.
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Bailey, E. (2012). ADHD & Anxiety. Retrieved from http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/related-conditions-196320-5.html
Stannard, L. (2012). What are the Treatments for ADHD & Anxiety Disorder?. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/125528-treatments-adhd-anxiety-disorder/
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2012). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002518/