Difference between Anxiety and ADHD

Anxiety and ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, are often confused with each other. These two mental conditions have a similar set of symptoms, but are caused by different processes. People with ADHD can easily become anxious. ADHD often causes anxiety, but anxiety is not necessarily a prerequisite for ADHD. 25 percent of children with ADHD show symptoms of anxiety as well. Because of the similarity of symptoms, it is important to distinguish between anxiety and ADHD. There are several differences between the two types of disorder and we will take a closer look at them.


Anxiety is the condition in which the individual feels excessive worry, restlessness and sleeplessness in the absence of any realistic event that might cause these symptoms. The group of disorders associated with anxiety includes social phobia, panic and generalized anxiety disorder.

Anxiety vs ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) manifests itself in chronic inattention, troubles with concentration and the lack of ability to remember and repeat even simple tasks. It is estimated that between 2–5 percent of adults and around 13 percent of children have ADHD.

Comparison chart

Anxiety ADHD
Symptoms include physical illnesses Normally,  symptoms do not include physical illnesses
Inability to concentrate is caused by worry Inability to concentrate is accompanied by physical movements
There are more individuals suffering from anxiety than from ADHD There are fewer individuals suffering from ADHD than from anxiety

Anxiety vs ADHD

What is the difference between Anxiety and ADHD? Let’s compare them by physical symptoms, the causes of inability to concentrate and by the population of sufferers.

  • Symptoms of anxiety often include physical ailments, such as headache. Symptoms of ADHD normally do not include physical ailments.
  • There are different causes for inability to concentrate on the task by individuals suffering from anxiety and ADHD. In the case of anxiety, an inability to concentrate is caused by excessive worry and restlessness that prevents the individual from focusing on the task. In case of ADHD, individuals are not able to concentrate due to their agitation and constant physical movement.
  • Statistics show that there are more patients suffering from anxiety than those suffering from ADHD.