Drugs for adults with ADHD and anxiety

ADHD and anxiety

The medicines listed on this website are only there to give you knowledge. Just because they are on the list doesn’t mean that anyone will be given them; in the end, treatment decisions are up to the healthcare workers. The medicines on this list are not all of them. Doctors may recommend other drugs, even ones that don’t contain stimulants, depending on the patient’s specific health needs and circumstances.

People with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often don’t realise how bad their symptoms are. Still, it can have a big effect on someone’s life, making it impossible for them to have healthy relationships or a good job. According to statistics[1*] , up to 80% of people who are labelled with ADHD also have other mental illnesses, such as depression, drug use disorders, or personality disorders.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that about half of all people with ADHD[2] also have generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). This makes it even harder to deal with ADHD symptoms, which are already tough.

Keep reading to learn more about how these two conditions are linked and how to treat ADHD while also dealing with worry.

ADHD and Stress

What does ADHD mean?

ADHD is one of the most common neurological disorders, and many people with it still have problems as adults[2*] ADHD can show up as either not paying attention (inattentive type, also known as attention deficit disorder, or ADD) or being too busy (hyperactive-impulsive type) or a mix of the two (mixed ADHD).

ADHD and Stress


Medical professionals offer individualised ways to deal with ADHD based on the signs and severity. Some of these are certain medicines, therapy for mental health issues, and changes to one’s living that include starting new healthy habits.

What is stress?

People usually feel anxious when they are in a trying situation. On the other hand, too much worry can turn into a disease. It can show up as fear, irritability, and worries, as well as physical responses like headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, or high blood pressure.

Anxiety has a big impact on a person’s life and needs professional help, like therapy and/or medicine. The intensity and frequency of these symptoms can vary from person to person.

Is there a link between ADHD and anxiety?

It is very important to understand both ADHD and anxiousness and get a correct evaluation. That being said, it’s just as important to learn how to deal with them.

Anxiety and ADHD are two different diseases that can happen at the same time. It can be hard to tell them apart because they both have some of the same symptoms. One example is that patients may have trouble relaxing, focusing, and paying attention.

The problems that come with having ADHD can also make you anxious. So, someone with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder might feel anxious when they are having problems at work or school because they can’t remember things. If these feelings don’t go away, they could turn into an anxiety condition.

Some ADHD medicines, especially steroids, can make anxiety worse or cause it as a side effect.

Common Drugs for ADHD

People with ADHD are often given medicines to help them focus, control their emotions, and deal with other ADHD symptoms. Usually, these drugs are broken down into two groups: stimulants and non-stimulants. When making a care plan for a person, you should think about the pros and cons of each group.

Stimulant Drugs for ADHD

Most of the drugs used to treat ADHD are stimulants. They raise the brain’s dopamine and norepinephrine levels, which makes it easier to pay attention, stay motivated, concentrate, stay alert, and have more energy. They can also make people less hyperactive and impulsive.

Stimulants come in two types: those that work slowly and those that work quickly[3*] The last ones can be taken whenever you need them. They last up to four hours, but you might “crash” afterward. Long-acting drugs are taken once a day and work for up to 12 hours, making mood swings less common.

Some common examples are

ADHD Drugs That Don’t Stimulate

Stimulants and non-stimulants can be used together to make them work better. They may also be better for people who have a past of addiction. Non-stimulants help you focus and control your impulses, but you have to take them every day, and it could take 3–6 weeks before you can see benefits.

Here are some of the most popular examples:

Some common side effects are:

ADHD drugs for adults who have anxiety symptoms

Due to their high efficiency and quick action, stimulants are usually the first choice for treating ADHD symptoms in adults. Non-stimulants also work, but they do so more slowly, which makes brain receptors work for longer. Both can be safe and good for adults with ADHD, but taking stimulants for anxiety can sometimes make the symptoms worse, so non-stimulants are better for adults with anxiety who have ADHD.

Atomoxetine, also known as Strattera

Strattera is a non-stimulant, immediate-release drug that is used to treat ADHD and nervousness. It works on norepinephrine, a key neurotransmitter in the brain that sends signals to nerves.

The dose is based on the patient’s physical state and how well they respond to treatment. It can be taken by itself or with other medicines, but it’s very important to tell your doctor about all the medicines you’re taking.

Viloxazine (Qelbree) drugs

Qelbree, which has viloxazine in it, tries to improve focus, attention, and impulse control by balancing out the brain’s chemicals.

But some people may have symptoms get worse or mental or mood changes, including suicide ideas. It’s not clear if viloxazine is safe to take while pregnant or nursing, and older people may be more affected by its affects. So, close supervision is very important, especially when the dose is first started or changed.

Drugs for depression

In addition to helping with depression, antidepressants can also help with nervousness. There are two main types of these drugs: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

To ease the signs of worry, the following medicines may be suggested:

Medicines for high blood pressure

Having an anxiety problem can cause signs like a fast heartbeat or high blood pressure. Medications for high blood pressure lower it by blocking the part of the autonomic nerve system that makes epinephrine.

Here are some samples of these blood pressure medicines:

To find the best way to treat someone who has both ADHD and anxiety, it is important to know which condition has the most effect on their health. So, a person may need a different type of care if their worry is a separate disease and not a sign of their ADHD.

Lifestyle changes and treatments for ADHD and anxiety that don’t involve drugs

Think-and-behavior therapy (CBT) and breathing methods are two non-drug treatments that may help with both ADHD and anxiety issues.

CBT stands for cognitive behavioral therapy.

It doesn’t matter if the person is taking medicine or not; CBT can help. Still, what we know from clinical trials is that they have different effects. You can take medicine to help you focus and deal with the main signs of ADHD, which are easily distracted, having a short attention span, and acting on impulses. However, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is better at building the habits and skills you need for executive self-management.

CBT is based on the idea that mental illnesses are often caused by learned behaviors and ways of thought that aren’t helpful. Its main goals are to help people see and change these habits, gain a better understanding of how other people act, and learn how to solve problems.

Methods for Relaxation

Relaxation techniques might not be enough to deal with serious symptoms, but they can help with psychotherapy and drug treatments. While there are many ways to relax, the best one is to find the one that works best for you and stick with it.

Mindfulness routines, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), and self-care tasks are some of the most common ways to rest.

You can: By making these changes to your life, you can

Problems with treating ADHD symptoms in people who also have anxiety

People who have both ADHD and anxiety often have problems with side effects of stimulant medicines, too much excitement, and not being able to tell the difference between their symptoms.

Risks of Too Much Stimulation with Stimulant Drugs

The stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD may be helpful, but they may also cause too much excitement. This means that people with ADHD become too sensitive to things like sound, light, touch, smell, or taste. This makes it harder for them to deal with other problems that are already tough.

Overstimulation can have different effects on different people. Here are some common effects:

How Medicine Can Affect You

Most of the time, ADHD drugs cause people to lose their hunger, gain weight, have trouble sleeping, become irritable, and have tics. Some non-stimulant drugs may make teens more likely to have suicidal thoughts and actually kill themselves. Antidepressants can make you feel sick, make it hard to go to the bathroom, make your mouth dry, make you sweat, and change your sex drive.

Taking medicine for high blood pressure usually doesn’t have any side effects. Some people, though, have minor side effects, like feeling dizzy, getting headaches, having their legs or feet swell, or having stomach problems.

Problems Figuring Out the Signs of Anxiety and ADHD

Both diseases can make it hard to focus, but they are caused by different things and need different ways to be diagnosed and treated. So, anxiety disorders usually start with too much fear and worry, while ADHD is thought to be caused by issues with the brain’s executive processes, like self-regulation and working memory.

A thorough mental health evaluation by a medical professional is needed to find the exact causes of ADHD and anxious symptoms and create a personalized treatment plan that treats both conditions.

Keeping an eye on and changing treatment while on medication

Monitoring the treatment with medications is very important for predicting or finding side effects before they happen for good or can’t be fixed. A health care worker should think about things like

Regular check-ups with a doctor are necessary to keep track of how well given medicines are working. It’s possible to find out if a medicine is working, change the dose if needed, or choose a different medicine during appointments.

That being said

ADHD can be controlled with medicine and changes to how you live your life. Stimulants and non-stimulants can both be used, but non-stimulants may work better for people who have both ADHD and worry.

Anxiety and ADHD should still be treated in a way that is unique to each person. First, you should see a doctor or nurse to talk about your symptoms and medical background. Following that, you are given advice on how to best handle your ADHD and nervousness.

FAQ
Can ADHD make you feel anxious?

With numbers close to 50%, people with ADHD[4*] are more likely to have anxious problems than people who don’t have ADHD.

Can ADHD drugs make nervousness worse?

Many people with ADHD take stimulants[5*] like Adderall. These drugs can sometimes cause anxiety as a side effect or make anxiety symptoms worse if they already present.

What is the best medicine for people with worry and sadness who also have ADHD?

A non-stimulant ADHD drug like atomoxetine (brand name Strattera) is often thought to be the best choice for people who have ADHD, anxiety, or depression. Different people may respond differently to the same medicine, though, which is why it’s important to get personalized care from a doctor who will look at all of your needs.

Can you take medicine for both ADHD and nervousness at the same time?

Yes, people with ADHD and nervousness can often take their medicines together. However, it relies on the medicines, the person’s medical background, and other things. Some drugs used to treat ADHD and nervousness may have opposite effects on the brain and spinal cord, making them less effective when taken together.

Which medicines work best for ADHD, nervousness, and depression?

Not all people who take medicine for ADHD, nervousness, or sadness will feel better. When a doctor prescribes medicine, they look at the patient’s complaints, medical background, and possible drug combinations and side effects.