Statics show that 50 percent of ADHD adults also have an anxiety disorder, for example Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social phobia or specific phobias, such as fear of flying or fear of spiders etc.
Not all anxiousness is bad. It can be a sign to get out of danger, that action is needed or it can help you to prepare for a big event. However, if you experience constant anxiety that feels overpowering and you fear everyday situations it a hindrance, not a help.
When you have ADHD and anxiety it intensifies low self-esteem, increases stress and problems with cognition, such as memory.
My favourite book about anxieties is ‘from panic to power’ by Lucinda Bassett. Lucinda has a positive outlook on anxiety. For example, she states that if you have increased anxiousness, you will also have above average intelligence, are highly creative, have a great imagination, detail-oriented and analytic. These characteristics give you the potential to achieve wonderful things. Yet, when you are suffering with anxieties you can scare yourself, imagine worse case scenarios, etc. and make yourself sick with anxiousness. Remember, no matter how severe your anxieties are they are treatable.
Anxiety and ADHD is a big topic, and over the next few weeks, I am going to be talking more about it. However, there are things you can do right now to start helping your anxiety:
1) Get diagnosed! A diagnosis is always a great starting point, as you then know exactly what you are dealing with.
2) Exercise every day. I talk about exercising a lot in terms of helping your ADHD. If you have anxiety as well, there is double the reason to get your body moving. Cardio exercise helps disperse your anxieties.
3) Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake. Both exacerbate anxious feelings.
4) Take deep breaths. Breath in through your nose as deeply as possible. Feel your chest expand as your lungs fill with air. Then very slowly breathe out. Do this 10 times and notice how much calmer you feel.
5) Get a copy of ‘From Panic to Power’ by Lucinda Bassett
6) Know there is hope. No matter how anxious you are now, there is light at the end of the tunnel.