Adhd caused by anxiety

ADHD and anxiety: What's the connection?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety disorders frequently occur together. These conditions can simply exist simultaneously, or ADHD may contribute to the development of the anxiety disorder.

Individuals with ADHD often have other mental health conditions. In fact, around half of adults with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder.

Sometimes, symptoms can be difficult to tell apart from one another as they share certain symptoms. For instance, in both anxiety disorders and ADHD, the individual may have difficulty concentrating or relaxing.

Learning about the differences between the two disorders is important in the management and treatment of both. Anxiety can significantly impact how someone with ADHD manages their condition.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) usually begins during childhood, and can continue to adulthood in some people. This developmental disorder is typically associated with symptoms such as:

  • a short attention span
  • fidgeting
  • hyperactivity
  • impulsivity
  • restlessness

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 50 percent of American adults with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. The National Resource Centre on ADHD estimate that up to 30 percent of children with the condition experience anxiety.

Currently, it is unclear why anxiety and ADHD appear together so frequently. Factors such as genetics, premature birth, and environmental toxins are thought to play a part in ADHD, so it is possible that they also influence anxiety disorders; more research is needed.

What is an anxiety disorder?

A person with an anxiety disorder is likely to experience long-lasting feelings of nervousness, fear, and worry. Although occasional anxiety is normal, those with anxiety disorders experience anxiety most, or all, of the time.

They may have difficulty identifying and controlling their specific fears and worries. These feelings tend to be out of proportion to the situation, and can interfere with people’s daily lives and relationships with others.

There are many types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

The connection

Although anxiety and ADHD may occur together, ADHD is not an anxiety disorder.

Sometimes, anxiety can occur independently of ADHD. Other times, it can be as a result of living with ADHD.

A person who has ADHD and misses a work deadline or forgets to study for an important exam can become stressed and worried. Even the fear of forgetting to do such important tasks may cause them anxiety.

If these feelings and situations continue, which they do for many people with ADHD, they can lead to an anxiety disorder.

Furthermore, the medications used to treat ADHD, especially stimulant medications such as amphetamines, can cause symptoms of anxiety. Genetics may also play a role.

It can be difficult to differentiate between anxiety and ADHD as the two conditions can appear similar. Some signs and symptoms that are common to both conditions include:

  • difficulty socializing
  • fidgeting
  • inattentiveness
  • working slowly or failing to complete work on time

According to Understood, additional signs of anxiety in children with ADHD can include:

  • being irritable or argumentative
  • causing trouble in class
  • playing video games or watching TV most of the time
  • telling lies about schoolwork or other responsibilities that haven’t been completed
  • withdrawing from people

How to tell the difference

Although there are many things in common, there are some differences between the two conditions. Anxiety is primarily a disorder of nervousness, worry, and fear, while ADHD is characterized by a lack of attention and focus. People with anxiety can also display compulsive or perfectionist behaviors, which aren’t typically seen in those with ADHD.

Someone with an anxiety disorder will find it difficult to concentrate during certain situations that cause them to feel anxious. However, someone with ADHD will find it difficult to concentrate most or all of the time.

Although friends and family may recognize the symptoms of anxiety, ADHD, or both, a health professional should carry out a full evaluation before a diagnosis is made.

When anxiety and ADHD occur together, they can make daily activities more difficult. A person with ADHD who also has anxiety may find concentrating on tasks even more challenging. Therefore, it is very important to get proper treatment to ensure a better quality of life.

Anxiety can also complicate ADHD treatment because it tends to make people afraid to try new things. And, to deal with ADHD, new strategies might need to be employed to keep on top of the condition.

Treatment plans will vary based on the individual and the situation. Some people may benefit from having both conditions treated simultaneously.

Other times, treating just one of the conditions might be the priority. This may be appropriate if ADHD is the cause of the anxiety, as treating the ADHD can reduce the anxiety.

There are many different treatment options available to those with both ADHD and anxiety.


Prescription medications are most commonly used in treating ADHD. However, if stimulant medications are causing symptoms of anxiety, other non-stimulant medications may be prescribed. Anti-anxiety medications might also be considered.

If taking several medications is not recommended, or if the person does not wish to take them, a doctor may prescribe medication for one of the disorders and treat the other with therapeutic or lifestyle interventions.

Therapy and relaxation techniques

The anxiety related to ADHD may be better managed with:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): this short-term intervention helps people to change their thinking patterns in order to positively influence their behavior. CBT is widely used for anxiety disorders, and has been shown to be effective in the treatment of GAD and many other conditions.
  • Relaxation techniques: practicing techniques, such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and deep-breathing exercises can help treat stress and anxiety by slowing the heart rate, reducing muscle tension, and boosting concentration and mood.

Lifestyle changes

Share on PinterestHaving a regular sleep cycle can help reduce symptoms of anxiety.

In addition to taking medication, considering therapy, and practicing relaxation techniques, several lifestyle factors can help those with anxiety related to ADHD.

Sleep: tiredness can worsen feelings of anxiety. At least one study has indicated that anxiety in children with ADHD is linked with sleep disturbances.

People should aim to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.

Those who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep should discuss the issue with their doctor.

Exercise: regular exercise can reduce anxiety in a number of ways, including through the release of brain chemicals that boost mood.

Schedule tasks: keeping a list of tasks and activities that need to be completed, and setting realistic timeframes for each, can ensure goals are remembered and achieved. This can help reduce anxiety levels.

Nutrition: eating healthful and balanced meals and staying hydrated can help manage anxiety. Reducing the intake of caffeine and alcohol may also be useful, as both of these interfere with sleeping patterns.

Tips for caregivers

Caregivers should:

  • Try to give the doctor as much information as possible on the symptoms experienced by the person in their care, even those that do not seem related to ADHD or anxiety. This will help the doctor to make an accurate diagnosis and create an effective treatment plan.
  • Be patient. Anxiety can cause people to become afraid to try new things, including new treatments for ADHD or the anxiety itself. Feeling anxious can also add to the lack of focus and forgetfulness experienced by those with ADHD.
  • Be supportive. Being critical or negative will only add to the stress and worry experienced by those with ADHD and anxiety.
  • Control parental anxiety. Children learn to respond to situations based on their parents’ reactions. Parents of children with ADHD who remain calm and positive will influence their children to do the same in stressful situations.
  • Consider parenting skills training. Parents can learn new ways of understanding and responding to children with ADHD.
  • Consider family therapy. This may be useful for parents and siblings who need additional support in dealing with the challenges of living with someone with ADHD.

Relationship Between ADHD and Anxiety

The link between ADHD and anxiety

If you’ve been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you may also have another mental health disorder. Sometimes symptoms of other conditions can be masked by the symptoms of ADHD. It’s estimated that over 60 percent of people with ADHD have a comorbid, or coexisting, condition.

Anxiety is one condition that is often seen in people with ADHD. About 50 percent of adults and up to 30 percent of children with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. Keep reading to learn more about the connection between these two conditions.

If you have ADHD, it may be difficult to recognize the symptoms of anxiety. ADHD is an ongoing condition that often starts in childhood and can continue into adulthood. It can affect your ability to concentrate, and may result in behavioral problems, such as:

  • hyperactivity
  • lack of attention
  • lack of impulse control
  • fidgeting and trouble sitting still
  • difficulty organizing and completing tasks

An anxiety disorder is more than just feeling occasionally anxious. It’s a mental illness that is serious and long lasting. It can make you feel distressed, uneasy, and excessively frightened in benign, or regular, situations.

If you have an anxiety disorder, your symptoms may be so severe that they affect your ability to work, study, enjoy relationships, or otherwise go about your daily activities.

The symptoms of ADHD are slightly different from those of anxiety. ADHD symptoms primarily involve issues with focus and concentration. Anxiety symptoms, on the other hand, involve issues with nervousness and fear.

Even though each condition has unique symptoms, sometimes the two conditions mirror each other. That can make it difficult to tell whether you have ADHD, anxiety, or both.

How can you tell the difference?

Though a professional evaluation is necessary, family members may be able to tell the difference between ADHD and anxiety. The key is to watch how your symptoms present over time.

If you have anxiety, you may be unable to concentrate in situations that cause you to feel anxious. On the other hand, if you have ADHD, you’ll find it difficult to concentrate most of the time, in any type of situation.

If you have both ADHD and anxiety, the symptoms of both conditions may seem more extreme. For example, anxiety can make it even more difficult for someone with ADHD to pay attention and follow through on tasks.

It’s not clear why there’s a connection between ADHD and anxiety, and doctors don’t fully understand what causes either condition. Genetics may be responsible for both conditions, and may also cause comorbidity. Researchers have also observed several other conditions that are commonly seen alongside ADHD, including:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • autism
  • sleep disorders
  • dyslexia
  • substance abuse
  • bipolar disorder

Possible causes for ADHD include genetics, environmental toxins, or premature birth. It’s possible that these causes could also contribute to anxiety.

Learn more: Is ADHD genetic? »

Treating ADHD and anxiety simultaneously may be challenging because some medications for ADHD can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Both conditions need to be treated, though. Your doctor may choose to focus first on the condition that’s the most disruptive to your quality of life. They may also provide suggestions for ways to manage the other condition.

The treatments your doctor may recommend for both ADHD and anxiety include:

  • cognitive and behavioral therapy
  • relaxation techniques
  • meditation
  • prescription medication

It’s important to be truthful and open with your doctor about your symptoms. This is especially true if you suspect you’re experiencing two conditions simultaneously. Your doctor will want to know if a treatment is making one or both of your conditions worse. That will help them tailor your treatment.

Online therapy options

Read our review of the best online therapy options to find the right fit for you.

If you have ADHD, it’s important to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms, even if you think they’re unrelated. It’s possible you could have an additional condition, such as anxiety. You should also let your doctor know about any new symptoms, as you could develop anxiety or another condition over time.

Once your doctor has diagnosed you with both ADHD and anxiety, you’ll be able to begin treatment for both conditions.

Read more: The 11 best ADHD blogs »

An anxiety disorder is a mental condition that needs to be treated by a mental health professional. There are things you can do, though, to try to reduce your symptoms.

Learn your triggers

In some people, anxiety may be triggered by specific events, like speaking in public or calling someone on the phone. Once you’ve identified your triggers, work with your doctor to help come up with ways to manage your anxiety in these situations. For example, preparing notes and practicing a presentation may help you feel less anxious when speaking in front of others.

Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night

Being tired may trigger anxiety or increase your risk for feeling anxious. Try to sleep for seven to eight hours every night. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try meditating or taking a warm bath before bed to help quiet your mind. Also plan to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Setting a sleep schedule can be an effective way to train your body to sleep when it’s time for bed.

If you continue to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, talk to your doctor. If you’re taking medication for your anxiety or ADHD, it could be interfering with your sleep. You may also need to temporarily take a sleep aid. Don’t start taking any additional medication without first discussing it with your doctor. Some medications may make your anxiety or ADHD symptoms worse.

Create a schedule

If you have ADHD, you may find it hard to complete tasks. This can make anxiety worse in some people. To avoid this, create a schedule and stick to it. Expect each activity to take longer than you think. You don’t want to set unrealistic goals for yourself, as this can increase anxiety.

Keep a journal

Writing in a journal can help clear your mind. There’s no wrong way to keep a journal. It’s only meant for you, so you should feel comfortable writing down anything that’s on your mind. Writing in a journal may also help you pinpoint things you want to discuss with your doctor or therapist.

Exercise regularly

Exercise may help reduce anxiety. In a review of studies, researchers found that exercise reduced anxiety in numerous different studies. More research is needed to fully understand how exercise affects anxiety. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you’re new to exercise, start small and work your way up to longer, more intense workouts.

Be patient

Treatment for anxiety can take time, and you may need to try several treatments before finding one that works for you. Be patient with your doctor and, most importantly, with yourself.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children | Zinov'eva

1. Polanczyk G, de Lima MS, Horta BL, et al. The worldwide prevalence of ADHD: a systematic review and metaregression analysis. Am J Psychiatry. 2007;164(6):942–8. DOI:

2. Bryazgunov IP, Kasatikova EV. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Moscow: Medpraktika; 2002. 128 p. [Bryazgunov IP, Kasatikova EV. Defitsit vnimaniya s giperaktivnost'yu u detei [Deficiency of attention with a hyperactivity at children]. Moscow: Medpraktika; 2002. 128 p. (In Russ.)]

3. Zavadenko NN. Hyperactivity and attention deficit in childhood. Moscow: ACADEMIA; 2005. 256 p. [Zavadenko N.N. Giperaktivnost' i defitsit vnimaniya v detskom vozraste [Hyperactivity and deficiency of attention at children's age]. Moscow: ACADEMIA; 2005. 256 p. (In Russ.)]

4. Biederman J, Kwon A, Aleardi M, et al. Absence of gender effects on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: findings in nonreferred subjects. Am J Psychiatry. 2005;162(6):1083–9. DOI: nine0003

5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed.: DSM-5. American Psychiatric Association. 2013.

6. Aleksandrov AA, Karpina NV, Stankevich LN. Negativity of mismatch in evoked potentials of the brain in adolescents in the norm and with attention deficit upon presentation of acoustic stimuli of short duration. Russian Physiological Journal. THEM. Sechenov. 2003;33(7):671–5. [Aleksandrov AA, Karpina NV, Stankevich LN. Mismatch negativity in evoked brain potentials in adolescents in normal conditions and attention deficit in response to presentation of short-duration acoustic stimuli. Rossiiskii fiziologicheskii zhurnal im. I.M. Sechenova = Neuroscience and behavioral physiology. 2003;33(7):671–5. (In Russ.)]

7. Becker SP, Langberg JM, Vaughn AJ, Epstein JN. Clinical utility of the Vanderbilt ADHD diagnostic parent rating scale comorbidity screening scales. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2012;33(3):221–8. DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e318245615b.

8. Gorbachevskaya NL, Zavadenko NN, Sorokin AB, Grigorieva NV. Neurophysiological study of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Siberian Bulletin of Psychiatry and Narcology. 2003;(1):47–51. [Gorbachevskaya NL, Zavadenko NN, Sorokin AB, Grigor'eva NV. Neurophysiological research of a syndrome of deficiency of attention with a hyperactivity. Sibirskii vestnik psikhiatrii i narkologii. 2003;(1):47–51. (In Russ.)]

9. Biederman J, Faraone S. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Lancet. 2005;366(9481):237–48. DOI:

10. Mick E, Faraone SV. Genetics of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2008;17(2):261–84, vii-viii. DOI: 10.1016/j.chc.2007.11.011.

11. Haavik J, Blau N, Thö ny B. Mutations in human monoamine-related neurotransmitter pathway genes. Hum Mutat. 2008;29(7):891–902. DOI: 10.1002/humu.20700. nine0003

12. Schulz KP, Himelstein J, Halperin JM, Newcorn JH. Neurobiological models of attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder: a brief review of the empirical evidence. CNS spectra. 2000;5(6):34–44.

13. Arnsten AFT, Pliszka SR. Catecholamine influences on prefrontal cortical function: relevance to treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and related disorders. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2011;99(2):211–6. DOI: 10.1016/j.pbb.2011.01.020. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

14. McNally MA, Crocetti D, Mahone EM, et al. Corpus callosum segment circumference is associated with response control in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). J Child Neurology. 2010;25(4):453–62. DOI: 10.1177/0883073809350221. Epub 2010 Feb 5.

15. Nakao T, Radua J, Rubia K, Mataix-Cols D. Gray matter volume abnormalities in ADHD: voxelbased meta-analysis exploring the effects of age and stimulant medication. Am J Psychiatry. 2011;168(11):1154–63. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.11020281. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

16. Valera EM, Faraone SV, Murray KE, Seidman LJ. Meta-analysis of structural imaging findings in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2007;61(12):1361–9. DOI: Epub 2006 Sep 1.

17. Finger AB. Lectures on developmental neurology. Moscow: MEDpressinform; 2012. 376 p. [Pal'chik AB. Lektsii po nevrologii razvitiya [Lectures on development neurology]. Moscow: MEDprecsinform; 2012. 376 p. (In Russ.)]

18. Reddy DS. Neurosteroids: Endogenous role in the human brian and therapeutic potentials. Prog. Brain Res. 2010;186:113–137.

19. Shaw P, Eckstrand K, Sharp W, et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is characterized by a delay in cortical maturation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007;104(49):19649–54. DOI: Epub 2007 Nov 16.

20. Fair DA, Posner J, Nagel BJ, et al. Atypical default network connectivity in youth with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Biological psychology. 2010;68(12):1084–91. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.07.003. Epub 2010 Aug 21.

21. Makris N, Biederman J, Monuteaux MC, Seidman LJ. Towards Conceptualizing a Neural Systems-Based Anatomy of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Dev Neurosci. 2009;31(1–2):36–49. DOI: 10.1159/000207492. Epub 2009 Apr 17.

22. Kaplan RF, Stevens MC. A review of adult ADHD: a neuropsychological and neuroimaging perspective. CNS Spectrums. 2002;7(5):355–62.

23. Krause J. SPECT and PET of the dopamine transporter in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Expert Rev Neurother. 2008;8(4):611–25. DOI: 10.1586/14737175.8.4.611.

24. Zametkin A, Liebenauer L, Fitzgerald G, et al. Brain metabolism in teenagers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. nineteen93;50:333–40. DOI:

25. Arns M, Conners CK, Kraemer HC. A decade of EEG Theta/Beta ratio research in ADHD – a meta-analysis. J Atten Discord. 2013;17(5):374–83. DOI: 10.1177/1087054712460087. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

26. Anjana Y, Khaliq F, Vaney N. Event-related potentials study in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Funct Neurol. 2010;25(2):87–92.

27. Oades RD, Dittman-Balcar A, Schepker R, et al. Auditory event-related potentials (ERPs) and mismatch negativity (MMN) in healthy children and those with attention-deficit or tourettetic symptoms. Biol Psychol. nineteen96;43(2):163–85. DOI:

28. Meisel V, Servera M, Garcia-Banda G, et al. Neurofeedback and standard pharmacological intervention in ADHD: a randomized controlled trial with six-month follow-up. Biol Psychol. 2013;94(1):12–21. DOI:

29. Wilens T, Spencer T, Biederman J. A large, double-blind, randomized clinical trial of methylphenidate in the treatment of adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2005;57(5):456–63. DOI: http://dx. nine0003

30. Lee SS, Humphreys KL, Flory K. Prospective association of childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and substance use and abuse/dependence: a meta-analytic review. Clin Psychol Rev. 2011;31(3):328–41. DOI:

31. Hammerness P, McCarthy K, Mancuso E, et al. Atomoxetine for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents: a review. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2009;5:215–26. Epub 2009Apr 8.

32. Sangal RB, Sangal JM. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: using P300 topography to choose optimal treatment. Expert Rev Neurother. 2006;6(10):1429–37. DOI:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - LabyrinthMed Medical Center Krasnoyarsk

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that manifests itself in preschool or early school age. It is difficult for such children to control their behavior and concentrate. It has been found that 3 to 5 percent of children suffer from ADHD. This means that in a class of 25-30 children, it is likely that at least one will have ADHD. nine0003

ADHD was first described by Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann in 1845. In 1902, Sir George F. Still published a series of lectures that described a group of impulsive children with significant problems due to genetic dysfunction rather than poor parenting - children who are today diagnosed with ADHD.

A child with ADHD faces difficult but not insurmountable challenges. For these children to reach their full potential, they need the help, guidance and understanding of parents, school teachers and the education system. nine0003

The medical center "LabyrinthMed" practices an integrated approach to the diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . Comprehensive examination includes:
- reception of a psychotherapist;
- appointment with a neurologist;
- session of a medical psychologist, correctional session of a defectologist.
According to the results of the examination, a correction program with specific recommendations is prescribed and treatment is prescribed.

You can make an appointment with a specialist or undergo a comprehensive examination on this problem by calling (391) 235-00-15, 217-80-30 or through the website in the Appointment with a doctor section.

In this article you can learn in detail about the features of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The main symptoms of ADHD are attention deficit, hyperactivity and impulsivity . These signs appear at a very early age. Since many healthy children also have these symptoms, but to a lesser extent, or caused by another disorder, it is important for the child to have a thorough examination and an appropriate diagnosis made by a highly qualified specialist. nine0003

ADHD symptoms appear over many months, usually symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity precede symptoms of inattention, which may not appear for a year or more. In different social conditions, different symptoms appear, depending on the requirements for self-control of the child in a particular situation. A child who "can't sit still" or who ruins everything is visible at school, but an inattentive dreamer may not be noticed. An impulsive child who acts first and thinks later may be thought to have "discipline problems", while a passive or slow child may simply be considered not very motivated. However, both can have different types of ADHD. All children are sometimes restless, sometimes they do something without thinking, sometimes they float away somewhere in their dreams. When hyperactivity, distractibility, poor concentration, or impulsivity begin to affect school performance, relationships with other children, or behavior at home, ADHD may be suspected in a child. Because symptoms vary widely across social settings, the diagnosis of ADHD can be difficult. This is especially true in cases where attention deficit is the primary symptom. nine0003

There are three types of ADHD. There is a hyperactivity/impulsivity predominance type (where there are few signs of inattention), a attention-deficit predominance type (minor signs of hyperactivity/impulsivity; and a mixed type (which has both attention deficit hyperactivity/impulsivity symptoms).


Hyperactive children seem to be constantly on the move and on their feet They destroy everything around them by grabbing and playing with everything in sight or talking incessantly They find it difficult to sit still at the table during lunch and school, or calmly communicate They squirm and fidget in chairs, or roam around the room Or twirl their feet, touch everything, tap loudly with a pencil Hyperactive teenagers or adults feel inner anxiety They often tell that they need to be busy and may try to do nes how many things at the same time. nine0003

Impulsive children cannot control their immediate reaction or think before doing something. They often blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions uncontrollably, and act without considering the consequences of their behavior. Their impulsiveness prevents them from waiting for something they want or their turn in the game. They may take a toy from another child or hit if they are upset. Even teenagers or adults impulsively choose activities that bring even a small but immediate return, instead of doing something that requires a lot of effort, but also provides a much larger reward - but later. nine0003

Some signs of hyperactivity-impulsivity are manifested in the fact that children:

  • Feel restless, often wiggle their arms and legs or fidget in a chair
  • Run, climb and leave their place in situations where they need to sit and be quiet
  • Shout out answers before the whole question is heard
  • Having difficulty standing in line or waiting their turn in a game


It is difficult for inattentive children to focus on one thing, a task can tire them just a few minutes after it starts. If they are doing something they really enjoy, they have no problem concentrating. But on purpose, consciously focusing on organizing and completing a task, on learning something new, is hard for them.

Homework is especially difficult for these children. They forget to write it down or leave it at school. They forget to bring a textbook or bring the wrong one. If, nevertheless, homework is done, it is full of mistakes and blots. Homework often causes despair in both the child and the parent. nine0003

Criteria for attention deficit disorder are:

  • Children are easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds
  • They do not pay attention to details and make mistakes due to their carelessness
  • Rarely follow instructions carefully and completely, forget or lose things such as small toys, pencils, books and tools needed to complete the task
  • Often rushing from one unfinished business to another

Children diagnosed with ADHD with attention deficits rarely have problems caused by hyperactivity or impulsivity, but have significant difficulty concentrating. They appear dreamy, "absent," easily embarrassed, and move slowly and sluggishly. They find it difficult to process information as quickly and accurately as other children. When a teacher gives verbal or written instructions, it is difficult for such a child to understand what he or she should do, and they make many mistakes. In addition, such a child may sit still, be well-behaved, and even seem immersed in work, but he does not pay enough attention to it or does not fully understand the task or instructions. nine0003

These children do not have serious problems with impulsivity or hyperactivity in the classroom, at school or at home. They get along better with other children than those with the more impulsive and hyperactive type of ADHD. They may not experience the social problems of mixed ADHD at all. Too often, their attention problems are overlooked. And they need help just as much as kids with other forms of ADHD who have more obvious problems in the classroom.

Is it really ADHD? nine0070

Not everyone with excessive hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity has ADHD. Since most people sometimes say things they didn't want to say, jump from one task to another, be disorganized and forgetful, the question arises: how experts determine whether a child has ADHD or not.

Since every child has these problems from time to time, this diagnosis requires that such behavior be unacceptable for a person of this age. The diagnostic standards also contain specific criteria for identifying symptoms that are indicative of ADHD. Behavioral problems should start in early childhood, before age 7, and last for at least 6 months. Most importantly, such behavior must actually create severe problems in at least two areas of a person's life: at school, on the playground, at home, in the group of people to which he belongs, or in the environment where he has to communicate. Therefore, if a person has these symptoms, but they do not disrupt their school life and relationships with friends, then they will not be diagnosed with ADHD. Nor would such a diagnosis be given to a child who is overly active on the playground but has no difficulty in other social settings. nine0003

To determine if a child has ADHD, psychiatrists consider several crucial questions: is the behavior excessive, how long has it been present, does it create difficulties in life? That is, does this behavior occur more often in a child than in peers? Is this a permanent problem or is it a response to a temporary situation? Do these behavioral problems occur in multiple social settings, or only in one particular place—on the playground or at school?


Some parents notice signs of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity in their infant long before they start school. The child may lose interest in the game and the TV show, or run aimlessly back and forth, not listening to the parents at all. But since all children develop differently and vary greatly in personality traits, temperament and activity, it would be useful to hear the opinion of an expert on how acceptable such behavior is at a given age. Parents can see a pediatrician, child psychologist, or psychiatrist to determine if their child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or, more commonly at that age, it's just immaturity or unusually high energy. nine0003

ADHD may be suspected by a parent or caregiver, or may go unnoticed until the child has problems at school. Due to the fact that ADHD most strongly affects a child's activities in school, sometimes the teacher is the first to determine that the child is hyperactive or not attentive enough, and can point this out to parents and / or the school psychologist. Since educators work with many children, they begin to understand how "average" children usually behave in lessons that require attention and self-control. However, teachers sometimes fail to notice the needs of children who are inattentive and passive, and also quiet and cooperative, such as children with an inattentive form of ADHD. nine0003

Specialists who can diagnose

If ADHD is suspected, who is the first place a family can contact? Which specialists should be contacted?

Diagnosis should ideally be made by a specialist in the field of ADHD. Psychiatrists, pediatricians, neurologists are the specialties most often involved in the differential diagnosis of ADHD.

Parents can start by contacting their pediatrician. Some pediatricians can make the diagnosis themselves, but more often they refer parents to a suitable psychiatrist they know and trust. nine0003

Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood mental disorders. A psychiatrist can provide treatment and prescribe any necessary medications. Psychologists can also treat ADHD. They can help the family develop ways to deal with the disorder. Neurologists—doctors who treat disorders of the central and peripheral nervous systems—can also diagnose ADHD and prescribe medications. But unlike psychiatrists and psychologists, they cannot provide treatment and correction of the emotional aspects of the disorder. nine0003

The main task of the specialist is to collect information that excludes other possible reasons for such behavior of the child. Here are the possible causes of behavior similar to ADHD:

  • A sudden change in a child's life - the death of a parent or grandparent; divorce of parents; job loss by parents
  • Undiagnosed epilepsy
  • Otitis media causing hearing loss
  • Somatic diseases affecting brain function
  • nine0124 Teaching below the level of one's ability due to learning disabilities
  • Anxiety or depression

In most cases, the child's social adaptation and mental health are assessed. He is given tests to determine the level of intelligence and school knowledge to see if the child has learning difficulties and in what subjects these problems occur.

After that, the specialist creates a general picture of the child's behavior. What type of ADHD behavior is the child exhibiting? How often? In what situations? How long ago did he have it? How old was the child then? Are the behavior problems chronic and permanent, or are they temporary due to some cause? How seriously do behavioral problems interfere with the child's friendships, school activities, home life, or participation in social activities? Does the child have other related problems? The answers to these questions will help determine whether the child's hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention are indeed significant and have been around for a long time. If so, the child may be diagnosed with ADHD. nine0003

A correct diagnosis often clears up confusion by clarifying the causes of a child's problems, and this allows parents and children to move on with more accurate information about what is wrong and what can be done to help. Once the disorder is diagnosed, the child and family can begin to receive the combination of educational, medical, and emotional support they need. This may include providing guidance to school staff, selecting the most appropriate class, selecting the correct drug, and helping parents establish and maintain control over their child's behavior. nine0003

What causes ADHD

One of the very first questions parents ask is "Why? What went wrong?" "Am I to blame for what happened?" There is currently little direct evidence that ADHD can only arise from adverse social factors or poor parenting. The most well-founded causes seem to lie in the fields of neuroscience and genetics. This does not mean that environmental factors do not affect the severity of the disease, in particular, the degree of damage and suffering inflicted on the child may depend on them, but such factors do not cause ADHD by themselves. nine0003

Parents should focus on the future and look for the best possible ways to help their child. Scientists are studying the causes in an effort to find better treatments, and perhaps someday even ways to prevent ADHD. They are finding more and more evidence that ADHD does not depend on the situation in the family, but follows from biological causes. Knowing this, you can remove a heavy burden of guilt from parents who may blame themselves for the child's misbehavior.

Over the past decades, scientists have proposed several theories of ADHD. Some of these theories have stalled, while others lead to new lines of research. nine0003

Environmental factors

Studies have shown that there is a possible relationship between smoking and drinking during pregnancy and the likelihood of ADHD. To avoid this, it is better to refrain from using cigarettes and alcohol during pregnancy.

Another environmental factor that may be associated with an increased likelihood of ADHD is high lead levels in young children. Since the use of lead in paint was banned, it can only be found in older buildings, and exposure to toxic levels of lead is not as dominant a cause of ADHD as it once was. Children living in older homes where lead is found in plumbing and lead-based paint surfaces that have been repainted are at risk. nine0003

Brain injury

One of the first theories claimed that attention disorders were caused by brain injury. Some children who have had accidents that lead to brain injury may exhibit some of the behaviors that are characteristic of ADHD. But it was found that only a small percentage of children with ADHD had suffered a traumatic brain injury.


ADHD is often present in several family members, therefore genetic causes are likely. Studies show that 25% of close relatives of children with ADHD also have this syndrome, while in the general population this figure is approximately 5%. Most studies of twins have now shown that heredity strongly influences the occurrence of this disorder. nine0073 Scientists continue to study the influence of genetics on ADHD and determine the genes responsible for a person's predisposition to ADHD

ADHD treatment

Every family wants to know what treatment will be most effective for their child. Each family should answer this question to their attending physician.
The results of the study showed that the combined treatment was the most effective. An additional benefit of combination treatment was that these children were successfully treated with lower doses of drugs compared to the drug-only group. nine0003

What treatment should my child receive?

No one type of treatment can be considered universal for every child with ADHD. Sometimes a child may have unwanted side effects, and this may make the use of drug therapy unacceptable. And if the child also suffers from anxiety or depression in addition to ADHD, then the combination of drug treatment and psychotherapy is the best option. The child's needs and personal medical history must be carefully considered. nine0003

Things to remember about ADHD medications

• ADHD medications help many children concentrate and be more successful at school, at home or on the playground. The ability to avoid negative experiences can really help children avoid alcohol or drug addiction in the future and cope with other emotional problems.

• About 80 percent of children who need medication for ADHD continue to take medication into adolescence. More than 50 percent need the drug as adults. nine0003

Family and child with ADHD

Drug therapy can help the child in his daily life. It will be easier for him to control some of the behavior problems that lead to difficulties in relationships with parents and siblings. But in order to remove the despair accumulated over a long period of time, the habit of blaming and anger takes time. Both parents and children may need specialized help to learn how to manage their child's behavior. In such cases, psychiatrists and psychotherapists can counsel the family and the child, helping them develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of communicating with each other. During individual conversations, a psychotherapist helps children with ADHD learn to improve their self-esteem. In addition, a psychotherapist can help them find and build on strengths, deal with everyday problems, and control attention and aggression. Sometimes psychological counseling is necessary only for a child. But more often, because a child's disorder affects the family as a whole, all family members need help. The therapist helps the family find the most appropriate ways to deal with the child's destructive behavior and suggests new options. If the child is small, the therapist works mainly with the parents, teaching them how to cope with the child and improve his behavior. nine0003

There are different methods of influence. Having information about various methods of influence, it is easier for the family to choose the right psychotherapist.

Psychotherapy aims to help people with ADHD love and accept themselves for who they are, despite the disorder. It does not deal with the symptoms or causes of the disorder. During psychotherapy, patients talk to the therapist about sad thoughts and feelings, identify self-destructive behaviors, and look for alternative ways to manage their emotions. During the conversation, the therapist tries to help them understand how they can change, or how best to cope with their disorder. nine0003

Psychological Correction helps people develop more effective ways of dealing with immediate problems. It helps the child to change his way of thinking and psychologically adapt rather than to understand his feelings and actions - and thus can change the behavior of the child. Support can take the form of practical help, such as help with homework or schoolwork, or in dealing with emotionally stressful situations. Or support can be about self-control of behavior, self-reward, and self-rewarding for actions performed in a desired way - say, if a person has coped with anger or thought before doing something. nine0003

Communication training can also help children learn new behaviors. By teaching communication skills, the therapist discusses and models appropriate behaviors that are important for developing and maintaining relationships with others in situations such as waiting in line, sharing toys, asking for help, or responding appropriately to teasing. Subsequently, the children are given an attempt to practice these skills. For example, a child may learn to read other people's facial expressions and tone of voice in order to answer them correctly. Communication skills training helps a child find better ways to play or interact with other children. nine0003

support groups help parents connect with others who have similar problems and who are concerned about their children with ADHD. Members of support groups meet regularly (eg, monthly) to hear lectures from ADHD specialists, share frustrations and successes, get referrals to qualified professionals, and learn about their work. Their strength lies in numbers, and by sharing their experiences with others who have similar problems, they learn things that they could never have known if they were alone. nine0003

Parenting Skills Training , run by psychotherapists, offers parents methods and techniques to manage their child's behavior. One such method is the use of badges or points systems to immediately assess good behavior or performance. Another method is to "time out" or isolate the child in a chair or in the bedroom when he becomes too rebellious or out of control. During "time-outs" the child is removed from the disturbing situation and sits quietly alone for a while to calm down. Parents are also sometimes advised to spend time with their child every day doing something enjoyable and relaxing. During this time spent with the child, the parent looks for opportunities to note and point out what the child is doing well and to praise him or her for success and ability. nine0003

Rewards and penalties can be an effective way to change a child's behavior. The parent (or teacher) identifies several good behaviors that they want to encourage in the child (for example, asking for a toy rather than grabbing it, or completing a simple task in its entirety). The child is directly told what he must do in order to receive a reward. The child is rewarded when he performs the desired behavior and moderately punished when he does not. The reward may be small - for example, a badge of honor is given to a child for special merits - but it must be something desired for the child to want to earn it. As a punishment, you can remove the badge of honor or give a short "time-out". The goal is to eventually teach the child to control his behavior and choose the most desirable way of behavior. This method works well with all children, although children with ADHD may need additional, more frequent encouragement. nine0003

In addition, parents can learn to create situations for their children in which they can succeed. This may be the case, for example, when parents allow only one or two partners to take part in the game so that their child cannot become overexcited. Or, when a child has trouble completing tasks, they must learn to help their child, break a large task into several smaller ones, and reward the child for completing each small part. Regardless of how parents specifically influence their child's behavior, some general principles will be helpful to most children with ADHD. These principles call for more frequent and even immediate responses to a child's actions (this applies to both rewards and punishments), to take the necessary measures in advance to prevent potentially problematic situations, to look after children more closely and to encourage them in situations when they are not interested or boring. nine0003

Parents can also learn how to use stress management techniques, such as meditation, relaxation techniques and exercise, to help them cope when things go wrong and respond more calmly to their children's behavior.

Some simple ways to influence behavior

Children with ADHD may need organizational help. So you need:

Schedule. Organize the same routine for each day from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. The schedule should allocate time for homework and play (including outdoor walks and home activities like computer games). Hang this schedule on your refrigerator door or on a stand in your kitchen. If changes need to be made to the schedule, make them as early as possible. nine0003

Put all the essentials in order. Everything should have its own place, and everything should be kept in its place. This applies to clothing, backpacks and school supplies.

It is necessary to use diaries to control homework. Emphasize the importance of writing down assignments and having all the necessary books at home.
Children with ADHD need a consistent system of rules that are clear and strict. If children follow these rules, give them small rewards. Children with ADHD are often criticized, and they are already waiting for criticism. Try to find examples of your child's good behavior and praise for it. nine0003

Your child with ADHD and the school

You are your child's best advocate. To be a good advocate for your child, learn as much as you can about ADHD and how it affects your child at home, at school, and in community life.

If your child has ADHD symptoms at an early age, has been evaluated, diagnosed and treated with behavior modification, medication, or a combination of both, notify the child's teachers when the child enters school. Then they will be better prepared to assist the child in entering this new world away from home. nine0003

Never forget the fundamental rule: Your child's best protector is yourself.

Your teenager with ADHD

Your child with ADHD has successfully made it to the end of elementary school and is starting middle school and then high school. Although your child has been examined periodically during these years, now is the time to fully re-examine his health.

The teenage years are challenging for most children; for a child with ADHD, these years are doubly difficult. With all the problems of youth - pressure from classmates, fear of failure, both in school and in communication, low levels of self-esteem - a child with ADHD is more difficult to cope with. The desire to be independent, trying new and forbidden things - alcohol, drugs, sex - can lead to unforeseen consequences. The rules of conduct hitherto largely followed have now been abandoned. Parents may disagree with each other about how to deal with a teenager's behavior. nine0003

Now – more than ever – these rules should be clear and easy to understand. Communication between teens and parents can help the teen understand the reasons behind each rule. Once the rule is set, it should be clear why it is set. Sometimes it is useful to have a table - usually hung in the kitchen - that lists both all the rules of behavior at home and all the rules of behavior outside the home (in society and at school). Another table might contain a list of chores with space left to mark the completion. nine0003

When rules are broken—and they will be—react to such inappropriate behavior as calmly and calmly as possible. Use punishment sparingly. "Time-outs" work even with teenagers. Impulsivity and a hot temper often accompany ADHD. A short time alone can really help.

Because teens spend a lot of time away from home, over time there may be demands to be allowed to come back later and rent a car. Listen to your child's requests, explain your point of view on these issues and listen carefully to their opinion, and try to negotiate. nine0324 Communication, negotiation and compromise should be helpful .

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a widely recognized childhood disorder affecting approximately 3-5% of children. What is less well known is that many children with ADHD are more likely to have it as they grow up. Several studies have been conducted in recent years that have shown that between 30 and 70 percent of children with ADHD continue to show symptoms into adulthood. nine0003

The first studies of adults who were not diagnosed with ADHD as children but had symptoms as adults were conducted in the late 1970s by Drs. Paul Wender, Frederick Reimherr, and David Wood. These symptomatic adults were retrospectively diagnosed with ADHD after the researchers interviewed their parents. Researchers have developed clinical criteria for diagnosing ADHD in adults that combine a past history of ADHD with current evidence of ADHD. nine0003

Adults with ADHD usually do not realize that they have this disorder - they often just feel that it is difficult for them to organize themselves, pay attention to work, and show up on time for an appointment. The daily responsibilities of waking up, getting dressed and getting ready for the day's work, the need to arrive on time at work, and maintain productivity at work can be a major challenge for adults with ADHD.

Diagnosis of ADHD in adults

Diagnosing adults with ADHD can be tricky. In many cases, when a child is diagnosed with such a disorder, the parent may feel that he (or she) has the same symptoms as the child, and for the first time in his life begins to understand some of his features that have been causing him problems for many years. years - distraction, impulsiveness, restlessness. Other adults seek professional help for depression and anxiety and find that the root cause of some emotional problems is ADHD. They may have a whole chain of school problems or work problems. Often they are involved in frequent car accidents. nine0003

To be diagnosed with ADHD, an adult patient must have childhood-onset, persistent, and current symptoms. An accurate diagnosis of ADHD in adults is of particular importance, and this diagnosis should be made by a clinician with experience in the field of attention disorders. An accurate diagnosis will require a history of the patient's behavior during childhood, as well as interviews with his life partners, parents, close friends and other people who are in close contact. An examination of his physical condition and psychological tests should also be carried out. This disorder may be accompanied by other disease states such as specific learning difficulties, anxiety, and affective disorders. nine0003

Adult ADHD treatment

Drug treatment. As with children, if adult patients are on medication for ADHD, they often start with stimulants. Antidepressants are considered as second-line drugs for the treatment of ADHD in adults.
When prescribing drugs to adult patients, special circumstances must be taken into account. Adult patients may need smaller doses of drugs per kilogram of body weight. Drugs may have a longer half-life in the adult body. Adult patients may also take other drugs for other medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus or hypertension. Often, adult patients may also take medication for anxiety or depression. All of these variables must be taken into account before the medication is prescribed. nine0003

Education and psychotherapy. Although drug treatment can bring the desired help, a person can succeed on his own. In order to help him in his struggle, both "psycho-education" and individual psychotherapy can be helpful.

Learn more