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Research: The Surprising Link Between ADHD and Anxiety

Research Alert: If you suffer from both attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and generalized anxiety disorder, you’re definitely not alone. That said, it’s important to know that your chances of suffering from depression and other concerning health issues are also elevated.

According to Science Daily, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto has linked ADHD to the coexistence of generalized anxiety disorder. In fact, researchers discovered that women who have ADHD are 36 percent more likely to suffer from this issue.

In the study, which was published in the journal Child: Care, Health and Development, researchers looked at a representative sample of nearly 4,000 Canadian women between the ages of 20 and 39.  Of those women, 107 said that they had been diagnosed with ADHD.

In addition to generalized anxiety disorder, the women were more likely to suffer from a number of mental illnesses. In fact, researchers report that these numbers were “disturbingly high.”

“The prevalence of mental illness among women with ADHD was disturbingly high with 46% having seriously considered suicide, 36% having generalized anxiety disorder, 31% having major depressive disorder and 39% having substance abuse problems at some point in their life,” says Esme Fuller-Thomson, Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair at University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Director of the Institute for Life Course & Aging , as reported by Science Daily.

Surprisingly, study authors say that those with ADHD have a quadrupled chance of developing generalized anxiety disorder. Plus, the rate of major depressive disorder is astounding.

“These rates are much higher than among women without ADHD, ranging from more than four times the odds of suicidal thoughts and generalized anxiety disorders to more than twice the odds of major depressive disorder and substance abuse,” notes Fuller-Thompson.

Study co-author Danielle A. Lewis says that the findings were astonishing. “We were surprised at the high levels of physical health problems that the women were experiencing” says Lewis, who is a recent MSW graduate of the University of Toronto.

“More than one in four (28%) of these relatively young women said that physical pain prohibited some of their activities, which was much higher than the 9% of their peers without ADHD who had disabling pain. Insomnia was also more prevalent in the women with ADHD in comparison to those without ADHD (43.9% vs 12.2%) as was smoking (41% vs 22%),” she adds.

However, researchers aren’t sure as to why these links occur. This piece of information is yet to be discovered.

“Unfortunately, our study does not provide insight into why women with ADHD are so vulnerable. It is possible that some of the mental health problems may be caused by and/or contributing to financial stress,” says Fuller-Thomson.

This is just one of the many reasons why it’s so important to keep your doctor in the loop regarding any concerning mental health issues that you may be experiencing. You don’t have to go it alone. Help is available.



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5 Comments on Research: The Surprising Link Between ADHD and Anxiety

  1. Great info. Lucky me I reach on your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

  2. This actually answered my issue, thank you!

  3. Great post. I’m facing a couple of these difficulties.

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