How ADHD Can Cause Anxiety in Children

For children and adults alike, living with ADHD can be difficult. But while many adults who receive this diagnosis as a child eventually learn how to cope with their symptoms and keep up with their responsibilities, children can struggle to pick up any effective coping skills. It can take many years for parents to help their children find forms of treatment that work for them. For children with ADHD, their symptoms can be anxiety-inducing. They don’t know how to apply solutions that might help them yet, especially if they’ve just been diagnosed. Here’s why ADHD and anxiety go hand in hand for many children.

Feeling Guilty

For children, the feeling that they’re disappointing someone can be anxiety-inducing. Kids with ADHD often know that their parents, teachers, coaches, and other authority figures in their lives get frustrated with them. Even if their parents and teachers are being patient and go the extra mile to support them, they may still be aware that they’re not living up to a particular standard or meeting expectations.

Worrying About Forgetfulness

Some children with ADHD may not worry about forgetting certain tasks, like homework, because they believe they can finish everything on time without extra effort or scheduling. But lots of children with ADHD are deeply aware of how often they struggle to complete tasks in a timely fashion. However, they don’t know how to change this yet. They might worry about forgetting something in the future and stress over hypothetical scenarios in which they can’t keep up, such as getting bad grades.


ADHD is nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s a condition that people of all ages deal with and is relatively common. However, kids with ADHD may still feel embarrassed about their diagnosis. They may worry about their friends finding out they need special support or treatment. They might also feel embarrassed about making mistakes on tasks that other children seem to have an easier time with.

Kids are often self-conscious. They want to relate to their peers. If a child senses that there is something different about them, they might struggle to accept themselves.

Stress Over Minor Tasks

ADHD can be a very stressful condition. It’s no wonder that children with ADHD often experience anxiety. When it’s hard just to focus on a basic homework assignment, read a few pages of a book, or sit still in class for a while, day-to-day life can feel constantly stressful. Your child might feel like they’re always drowning in distractions. No matter how badly they want to get everything done, they just can’t tackle all of the things they’re supposed to do. Furthermore, they may not have found a healthy outlet for their energy. This can make it harder to cope.

Falling Behind Friends

Perhaps your child has noticed that their closest friends are earning higher grades. Their peers don’t seem to have much trouble with schoolwork. Maybe some of them are even quite advanced for their grade. Or maybe your child has realized that adults seem to think that some of their classmates are more mature. They may feel ashamed of this. Children with ADHD might feel a sense of anxiety over being “behind” their peers and not knowing how to catch up. They might feel like everyone else has received some sort of rulebook on how to behave except for them. This can be an isolating feeling.

Are you concerned that your child is struggling with anxiety caused by ADHD? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling a parenting therapy session.