Is It Anxiety or ADHD? Symptoms in Children

What you need to know when sorting out symptoms to figure out whether your children have an anxiety disorder, ADHD — or both.

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Focus and Fear Problems

Take Monica, a third-grader, for example. Her restlessness in class and her inability to focus on classwork led her teacher to believe she had ADHD. Her pediatrician started Monica on a stimulant medication for ADHD, but her symptoms didn’t improve.

Recently, she started showing signs of anxiety: She had trouble falling asleep by herself, and she was afraid to be alone anywhere in the house.

My informal assessment showed that her reading and written-language skills were at the early second-grade level. Monica told me that, if she did not know what to write or had trouble reading in class, she was afraid that the teacher would be mad at her.

Formal studies confirmed that she didn’t have ADHD, but she actually had a learning disability that caused her to be anxious at home and in school.

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