Anxiety is often a symptom that occurs along with Attention Deficit Disorder. In fact, I think that anxiety is triggered by ADHD symptoms.
People with ADHD tend to be forgetful, distracted, and unfocused. We may have poor social skills, and organizational and time management challenges. When you live your life like that, is it any wonder that anxiety comes along with it?
You should know that most doctors feel that ADHD medications make anxiety worse because they are stimulants. If you have to choose, treating the anxiety with medication and treating ADHD naturally would make more sense.
Of course, you can also choose to treat your anxiety naturally. As it turns out, many things that will help your anxiety can also be beneficial for your ADHD symptoms.
Here are a few suggestions:
Get some exercise. Exercising increases your body’s natural endorphins which in turn will make you feel better. Regular exercise can benefit your ADHD symptoms, too, and allow you to get a better night’s sleep – another way to help ADHD and anxiety symptoms.
Spend some time outdoors. If you can exercise outdoors, that is ideal, but if not, at least try to spend some time outdoors every day. I know that the weather can sometimes keep you indoors – I live in the Chicago area after all – but if you can’t get out at all, at least bring a little bit of nature indoors. You could add a plant, some flowers, or even a picture of the outdoors to your environment.
Eat a healthy diet, and focus on lean proteins, especially for breakfast and lunch. Also don’t allow yourself to get too hungry or too full. The choices we make in food and drinks like coffee can affect our bodies and our minds. Caffeine will make your anxiety worse, as will alcohol.
Consider a gluten free diet. There is growing evidence to support the idea that gluten makes both anxiety and ADHD symptoms worse. Gluten is found in grains like wheat, barley, and oats. In the case of anxiety, you should suspect gluten insensitivity if your symptoms are often felt in your stomach or intestines.
Take your vitamins. Again, this benefits both anxiety and ADHD. Vitamins B and D as well as omega 3 fish oil are all good choices.
If you feel that your anxiety is related to your hormones – anxiety symptoms often get worse with peri-menopause or menopause – check into some natural ways to balance your hormones or ask your doctor. Herbal teas and supplements containing chamomile, passionflower, or valerian might help. Note: valerian is highly effective as a calming agent, but also very smelly! Buy a capsule or a tincture, not pills and certainly not tea!
Develop some good habits. Yoga and meditation can teach you skills that you can use to help calm yourself. You might want to try journaling as a means to get your worries and concerns out of your head.
One thing that I use in stressful situations is what I call a worry stone. I collect rocks and stones – always have – and I have several that have a nice feel to them. They fit nicely in my fingers and when I’m stressed, I’ll use one to just sort of play with. I think it helps disconnect my mind a little bit and get my anxiety out.
See if you can adopt a few of these habits for yourself to treat your anxiety.