Think your child has ADHD? Perhaps you’re worried it may be more than that?
You could be right.
Many of the symptoms of ADHD are common in other disorders like anxiety and depression. Read below for the symptoms of ADHD and why this disorder is oftentimes confused with anxiety and depression.
Signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
- Makes careless mistakes in schoolwork.
- Trouble sustaining attention on tasks or play activities.
- Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
- Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork or chores.
- Has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
- Easily distracted or forgetful.
- Fidgets, taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat (restless).
- Talks excessively.
- Has trouble waiting his/her turn.
- Interrupts others.
Here’s the challenge with identifying whether your child truly has ADHD….
Many of the symptoms of ADHD are common in anxiety and depression.
Anxiety vs ADHD
-Your anxious child has a lot of thoughts on his mind. So he may be paying more attention to those thoughts than your words or his teacher’s words.
-It’s definitely hard to get organized when he’s so scattered with all his worries.
-Also, an anxious mind means a restless body. You know how you fidget when you get nervous? Same thing.
Depression vs ADHD
-If your child’s depressed he may have difficulty motivating himself to concentrate on daily tasks like homework or chores because the depressive thoughts are weighing him down.
-Your child may be making careless mistakes because if he’s depressed doing his best work may not be a priority.
-As adults, we often underestimate how much energy it takes to focus on and complete a task. Since depression can cause fatigue, your child may likely have more difficulty summing up the energy to get tasks completed.
Bottom line: If you are noticing symptoms typically associated with ADHD it could also be anxiety or depression. The challenge for you as a parent is that you might be thinking it’s one disorder and trying strategies to treat that, but it may be something else entirely.
It can be extremely helpful to seek out a mental health professional who can look at the whole picture and sort out what’s what. And when your child is not feeling well or doing well, you want the right help, right away.
Jenmarie Eadie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State with a dual concentration in Children, Youth, and Families; and Behavioral Health. Her proudest accomplishment is following her dream of opening up a practice that is designed to focus on the whole family. She currently serves families in Southern California.