Dr. Umesh Jain
is now exclusively responsible
for TotallyADD.com
and its content
Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

The Forums Forums What is it? Do I Have it? could Anxiety disorder cause ADD like symptoms?

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  • Anonymous
    #91080 |

    I have been confused for a long time now. When I asked my GP for an ADHD assessment she said she thinks its something else because she has patients with ADHD and you can tell by looking at them (WTF seriously?!), but she referred me to psychiatrist anyway for assessment.

    I spent about an hour with the psych, he’d ask me questions, some relating to ADHD and others about other disorders (OCD, anxiety, etc.) I shared with him that I was on ritalin in grade 3 (which helped scholastically but my mother took me off because I was like a zombie), and I saw a psychiatrist in high school who thought I had everything from depression to anxiety to finally ADHD.

    At the end of my hour (might have actualy been an hour and a half) he said that ADHD is on a broad spectrum and hard to diagnose for some people, and while its not obvious that I have it (score low on the hyperactivity scale) he couldn’t say for sure that I don’t.

    Anyway to make a long story short I know I have problems with anxiety. Does anyone know if anxiety can cause innatention and impulse control symptoms?


    Here’s the deal as I understand it:

    ADHD is like the flu. Lots of things look like the flu, as they have flu like symptoms, but the flu is the flu, not all those other things. ADHD is like that. Lots of things cause ADHD-like symptoms, but then there is actual ADHD, and ADHD is ADHD, not all the other things.

    Now of course you can have the flu and something else, just like you can have ADHD and something else (called a comorbidity), but if that’s the case, both need to be treated. Unless you have ADHD and the flu. In that case, skip the ritalin, and just head to bed. It’s not worth the fight.

    In all seriousness, though, if you have anxiety, doesn’t it make sense that you would have a hard time concentrating on things? Also, it makes sense that if you have ADHD, this could cause some anxiety, especially with relationships or deadlines. Things like this is why a good diagnosis can be hard to get , sometimes.

    However, the ritalin worked, so maybe some of it is ADHD? Unless, of course, ritalyn works for other things besides ADHD – possible, I’m no doctor or pharmacologist.


    I would question that your evaluation only took an hour or so. Theoretically it should take hours and cost a fortune!


    Funnily I’ve figured out how anxiety can contribute to several symptoms, like the unabilty to start projects, and why I’m always late. But still not sure how it would affect my focus on people talking to me (I zone out often), the clutter that I live with, or even putting mundane (not anxious) things off that need to be done until its critical.

    I am aware of the comorbidity (I hate that word, it is so morbid), so I know I could have both, unfortunately the anxiety (and past experience) doesn’t encourage taking medication.

    For full disclosure, on the virtual Dr. Test I scored 9/9 on inatentive, and 6/9 on restlesness/impulsive (mostly impulsive).

    I was concerned the “assessment” wasn’t thorough enough. I guess that’s what you get through OHIP. Maybe I need a new doctor.


    There is a longer ADHD self assessment at



    Hi Distracted!

    My mom fessed up about having me tested for ADD as a child. She took me to a specialist who was studying Dyslexia. And lo! and Behold! the man diagnosed me with dyslexia! I have a lot of techniques to deal with my dyslexia, but my life is still a complete mess, because as it turns out I really do have ADD as well. My right hip has been bothering me, not surprising for a 58yr old, so I went to the doc and he told me I needed hip replacement surgery. I talked to my neighbor the Chiropractor, who said sit here, hunched me over, and twisted my shoulders. CRACK! my hips feel great, and no surgery.

    The moral of the story?

    In my experience, specialists see the world through what ever tinted sun-glasses their training and experience tell them. Finding one that recognizes that, and can give you an honest answer of what you have, in their specialty, is hard to do. Keep looking for someone who specializes in ADULT ADD.

    What worked for me?

    I looked for, and found a specialist who understands ADD. He spent more time talking to my wife, looking at questionnaires filled out by my brother and sisters, and my mom, than he did talking to me. I think it was Too Fat that said ADD is a disorder that makes it difficult for people to deal with the person. This specialist, understood that, so he spent a lot of time diagnosing me, by studying my affect on other people. He also tested my cognitive ability, character and pattern recognition tests, a kind of mental reaction time test, and this computer based test that exercised working memory (I failed miserably at that one).

    The difference between ADULT ADD and ADD in a child?

    NONE. We as adults have some learned behaviors that mask the outward signs of the monkey chatter in our heads and behavior traits of an ADD brain. I know leg bouncing annoys the hell out of people, so I stop myself, when ever it happens. I know fidgeting distracts people, so I hide it very well. I know day-dreaming or constantly looking around the room for something to focus on, tells everyone I could care less about what is happening in the here and now. Where I do care about what is happening in the meeting, it’s just that I am so many steps ahead of them and they are going so SLOW, it takes them for ever to catch up. The tests he administered to me, ignored learned behaviors and got to the ADD.

    Where to go from here?

    If a doctor told you, your stiff knee was because it was damaged beyond all repair and you needed surgery, you would get a second opinion, right? So, here you have a disorder that affects your life, affects the lives of those around you, and because it is largely untreated, the affect isn’t in a good thing. A doctor tells you what he thinks it is, according to his experience. Are you going to seek a second opinion?


    kc5jck: thanks, I’ve done that one before, scored 96 I think (out of a possible 120 or something) again mostly innatentive.

    shutterbug55: I really should. I know of a few ADD specialists in the area but the cost is pretty high, and I have a pretty limited budget. I’m actually looking for my son as well (who’s so much like me), at 6 I feel its more important to focus on helping him as he’s just starting out. And who knows maybe I can learn something along the way.

    This website and forum is really helping me in my self discovery. I’m fairly sure I have both ADD, and Anxiety (which for now is mostly under control). Add to the mix an overactive imagination, and there I am.


    Anxiety causes ADHD symptoms to be worse, and that’s certainly the case for me. Until my recent diagnosis for ADHD, I had always assumed that my inattentiveness and forgetfulness were caused by anxiety as they appeared worse when I was under stress. I put the problems with motivation down to just the way I am, and was unaware of my emotion regulation issues.

    What really made me sure the problems were stress related back then, was that I saw a huge improvement after I learned to use relaxation response exercises. Being calm makes all the difference in coping with ADHD.


    The test that was on here (is it still there) was the same one my doc gave me. However, that wasn’t his only criteria. He is also my PCP, so he knew me for 2-3 years, seen my children, heard the stories about my dad and my brothers, put up with my excessive chattiness (VERY nice, patient guy). By the time I asked him about ADHD, he was relieved that I was finally willing to talk about it directly. I got the test, but he had about 2 years of notes he had been taking the whole time I had been seeing him.

    I don’t think I could trust his diagnosis if he had just gone on the test alone. It’s just one part of the whole picture. Make sure your doc is doing a whole profile, not just the one test.



    I was in a rush the other day when I replied to your post but actually wanted to say the following in answer to your question of whether

    anxiety can cause innatention and impulse control symptoms.

    i have a daughter who is diagnosed with ADD and Anxiety. She is inattentive, impulsive and has huge issues with motivation. A a young child she was hyperactive but that sort of shifted to impatience as she got older.


    Ummm, yep! Anxiety disorder can cause ADD like symptoms. Especially if you’re a mom and also distracted too.

    That’s what I heard on the news. So it has to be true. They’re not allowed to say it on TV if it’s not true. Hmm. actually I think I heard that on the news too. Sometimes I wonder about those people on the news. Especially the weather report folks. I find them especially difficult to trust. Whadya think? should we trust em?…

    It could be a conspiracy, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and suggest that it’s likely you have ADD, and as a matter of fact anxiety disorder is a part of it. They are like, related totally the max. Like, in the same way that cause and effect are related. Can you relate to where I’m coming from?.

    In other words, just like geoduck says. I think you have the flu. Maybe check into getting a flu shot. N maybe ask your mom or your gramma to make you some chicken soup!. Yeah! that’s the ticket!.

    PS. I just wrote this for fun. never mind. Pretend I was never here okay. I think maybe geoduck could have been clowning around with you too. But don’t trust me. I’m not well lately. Heck, I think all sorts of things are funny even when they’re not. That’s because I want to be a clown in the rodeo circuit. And after I get too old for that, (it get’s pretty rugged in those barrels ya know, the bulls hit em real hard) I’ll take a shot at being a monkeys uncle. I’m sure it pays well. First I gotta convince my sister to marry this lazy bum of a monkey I’ve been trying to get her to go out with at the zoo. He’s really crazy about her. Unfortunately she says that he always forgets to use his monkey deodorant. So I told her. What the heck do you expect. HE’S A DANG MONKEY! SISTER. sheesh. SOME PEOPLE JUST DON’T GET IT. I think maybe my sister got dropped on her head when she was little. He doesn’t really smell that bad if you ask me. I’m not sure if they wash or not. That’s a big part of the problem.

    Can a person get the flu from a monkey? that reminds me. Just today I heard on the news that dogs and cats can get the flu too!, and guess what, it’s contagious as well!!!. So now they think we should bring our cat’s n dogs in for flu shots!.. what the heck is the world coming to!!!… oh boy, Oh man. maybe I need to take a break from watching the news for a while, huh?

    There’s one thing I know for sure. I have ADHD and also I’ve got other co-morbidity problems ta boot. So… I’m just sayen. Ya never know. Today my therapist/psychologist made me take another test thing. And then she said “you REALLY have ADHD”. So I guess I’m stuck…

    Okay. I’ll stop. I think I’m done.

    Yep. all done for now.

    Going on vacation.

    for a couple days.

    Ah Robbo, that was just superb! A rollicking fun ride! 😆 Who says you can’t write? You’re a star! 😆


    Thanks allan,

    And since you’ve asked, I think “one” said I couldn’t write. In fact. It’s apparently horribly painful to go to the trouble of even scrolling past one of my long driveling nonsensical, and SILLY!… posts. I’m glad someone finally spoke up. Those horrible voices in my head were starting to doubt themselves.

    Fortunately I don’t take all criticism personally. If I did I might never go online.

    Technically I’m still on vacation, so this post doesn’t count. Maybe the same phantom that hides the stuff I need right before I leave the house got a hold of my keyboard and is sabotaging my identity as I slumber.

    Oh crap!, he’s waking up, gotta go hide his keys n wallet….

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