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Is It An Anxiety Disorder Or ADHD?

Many parents and educators face the challenge of distinguishing between anxiety disorders and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. Both conditions can significantly impact a child’s daily functioning, but they require different approaches to treatment. Understanding the key differences between anxiety disorders and ADHD is crucial for getting the right diagnosis and support. Here, we explore the signs, symptoms, and nuances of each condition to help you determine whether it might be anxiety, ADHD, or even both.

Understanding ADHD:

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms are typically present from an early age and can impact various aspects of a child’s life, including academic performance, social interactions, and family relationships.

Common Symptoms of ADHD:

1. Inattention:

  • Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
  • Frequent careless mistakes in schoolwork.
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities.
  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
  • Forgetful in daily activities.

2. Hyperactivity:

  • Fidgeting or tapping hands or feet.
  • Inability to stay seated in situations where it is expected.
  • Running or climbing in inappropriate situations.
  • Inability to play or engage in activities quietly.
  • Excessive talking.

3. Impulsivity:

  • Blurting out answers before questions have been completed.
  • Difficulty waiting for their turn.
  • Interrupting or intruding on others’ conversations or games.

Understanding Anxiety Disorders:

Anxiety disorders involve excessive fear or worry that is difficult to control and interferes with daily activities. Unlike ADHD, anxiety symptoms can be more situational and may not always be present. Anxiety can manifest in various forms, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders:

1. Excessive Worry:

  • Persistent and excessive worry about various aspects of life, such as school, health, or social interactions.
  • Difficulty controlling the worry.

2. Physical Symptoms:

  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up.
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Sleep disturbances, such as trouble falling or staying asleep.

3. Avoidance Behaviors:

  • Avoiding situations or activities that trigger anxiety.
  • Seeking reassurance excessively.

Key Differences and Overlaps:

While ADHD and anxiety disorders have distinct features, they can also overlap, making diagnosis challenging. For instance, both conditions can lead to difficulties with concentration and restlessness. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Focus and Attention:

  • ADHD: Inattention in ADHD is more consistent and pervasive, affecting multiple settings (e.g., home, school) regardless of the situation.
  • Anxiety: Inattention in anxiety is often situational, worsening during anxiety-provoking situations or thoughts.

2. Behavioral Symptoms:

  • ADHD: Hyperactivity and impulsivity are hallmark symptoms of ADHD, leading to fidgeting, interrupting others, and an inability to sit still.
  • Anxiety: Children with anxiety may appear restless due to nervous energy, but they typically do not exhibit the same level of impulsivity as those with ADHD.

3. Emotional Responses:

  • ADHD: Emotional responses in ADHD may be more related to frustration or impatience.
  • Anxiety: Emotional responses in anxiety are often tied to fear, worry, or apprehension about specific situations or events.

Co-Occurrence of ADHD and Anxiety:

It is also possible for a child to have both ADHD and an anxiety disorder. When this occurs, symptoms can be more complex and may require a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional. Co-occurring conditions can interact and exacerbate each other, making it even more crucial to get an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan.

Determining whether your child has an anxiety disorder, ADHD, or both can be challenging, but understanding the differences and seeking a professional evaluation are critical steps. At Apple Psychological, our team of experienced professionals is equipped to conduct thorough assessments and provide comprehensive treatment plans tailored to your child’s unique needs. Learn more about our comprehensive Psychological Evaluations which can provide a clear picture of your child’s symptoms and accurate diagnosis.

Contact us today for a FREE consultaiton to learn more about how we can support your child’s mental health and well-being.

In addition, Apple Psychological offers other Support for parents and teens. Find out more information and Register HERE or book a free consultation by Clicking Here

The Connection Between Student Loan Debt and Mental Health

The rising cost of pursuing a college education and the mental health consequences that result is something on the minds of many college students today. I can certainly say for myself that choosing to pursue a postgraduate degree is a decision that is both exciting and terrifying. The looming thought of simply borrowing a lump sum of money and knowing I have to pay it back can easily make me lose sleep at night. As a graduate student, I realize that I put so much academic pressure on myself to succeed because I know how much financial stress I am under with using student loans. In terms of mental health and substance use, a study published in the Journal of American College Health states that women report more mental health problems and lower levels of substance use compared to men. From a gender phenomenon, this study also highlights that women are more likely to borrow student loans and borrow a larger amount of student loans compared to men. This research shows that women are more likely to experience mental health problems related to student loan debt. The student loan debt crisis is a continuing topic of debate in economic, political, and educational arenas. It undoubtedly affects the mental health of young adults today.

Cognitive and Emotional Burden of Student Loan Debt

How do students feel about their student loan debt and how is it affecting their overall mental health? A study published by the Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work sought to understand the natural mental health expressions of student loan debts using data collected from Reddit and Twitter. The data from Reddit showed that users expressed not only doubts and insufficient knowledge regarding their student loan debts, but also expressed thoughts of self-harm, hatred, feelings of entrapment, and not knowing what to do about their loans. Users from Reddit also expressed mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. The pattern of cognitive and emotional burden was reflected on Twitter as well. With users expressing feelings of stress, depression and the need for mental health treatment options. Students wished someone had told them about student loans. This study demonstrates how student loan debt affects the mental health of college students and shines a light on the underlying symptoms of anxiety and depression that many individuals experience.

Lessening the Burden

It is no secret that the growing economy demands higher-order skills in the job market and points out the causal relationship between education level and income. This demand, coupled with the rising cost of receiving a college education, has forced many individuals and families to rely on student loans. While seeking out student loans can be necessary, the impact it can have on one’s mental health is something to take seriously. Seeking social support, psychoeducational resources, and mental health treatment during a stressful financial time can help tremendously and start to ease your burden of student loan debt.

Are you looking for a safe space to discuss decisions regarding student loans and education? Together, we can provide you support and guidance.

Contact Us at Here or call us at 917-526-0766 and start your journey today.

An experienced counselor specializing in Anxiety Treatment or Depression Treatment can help.



Qian, Y., & Fan, W. (2021). Student loans, mental health, and substance use: A gender comparison among us young adults. Journal of American College Health, 71(3), 930–941. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2021.1909046
Sinha, G. R., Larrison, C. R., Brooks, I., & Kursuncu, U. (2023). Comparing naturalistic mental health expressions on student loan debts using Reddit and Twitter. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 20(5), 727–742. https://doi.org/10.1080/26408066.2023.2202668

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed? Here are Five Strategies to Help You RIGHT NOW!       

Feeling Overwhelmed?Feeling overwhelmed is not an uncommon experience. With the fast-paced and busyness of everyday life, it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel like you’re losing control of your surroundings. The vicious cycle of stress and anxiety tends to sneak up on you and may be difficult to break. When these feelings arise, it is critical to utilize coping mechanisms to take charge of them before they consume you. Prolonged overwhelming and stressful feelings deplete the body of energy and inhibit its proper and optimal function.

Stress and anxiety are indiscriminate and no matter who you are, you can have these feelings. Many things lead a person to feel overwhelmed. A student may feel overwhelmed by their course workload or by thoughts about their future. An employed adult may feel that they have too many work and family responsibilities. Although not everyone experiences stress for the same reasons, it is equally important for everyone to manage their stress in a way that is both healthy and effective.

There are numerous things you may do to help reduce stress, anxiety, and overwhelming emotions. However, it is important to find what works best for you, as different strategies may work for different people:

1. Make a list:
Your brain often causes you to feel overwhelmed because it believes you have too much to do and not enough time. If you make a list of everything you need to get done, it is likely that your responsibilities will not seem as daunting as your brain is making them out to be. Once written down, you can mark off tasks as you complete them. This will make you feel accomplished and productive, and may even motivate you to keep going and incorporate list-making into your daily life!

2. Think about the “why”:
In order to resolve an issue, it is important to reflect on why you are experiencing the issue. Getting to the root of your emotions will help you determine why you are having these feelings and give you insight on how to best approach a solution. Sometimes, when you reflect on the reason you realize that you’re not stressed or anxious for any particular reason and that may help your feelings subside.

3. Find a healthy outlet:
It is vital to give yourself some space from whatever might be triggering your stress and anxiety. Take a step back and take some time for yourself. Prioritizing self-care and doing things you enjoy will help you de-stress. Each person may have different preferred outlets. While some people choose to go to the gym and exercise, others may prefer to unwind and watch television. When you need a break, you should engage in whatever brings you happiness. Some people may find it difficult to take breaks because they feel like taking a break will delay their opportunity to tackle what’s causing them stress. However, even if it’s for a brief period, it is crucial to clear your mind so that you approach your tasks with a fresh head and a new perspective.

4. Focus on the “controllable”
People dislike feeling that their circumstances are out of their control. People tend to focus on the things that are beyond their control while ignoring the things that they do have control over. Stressing about things that you cannot manage is unproductive and will send you into a downward spiral. When you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, try to focus on the things that you have influence over and make an effort to believe that everything you cannot control, will work out how it is supposed to.

5. Speak to someone
For some, no matter what strategies they attempt to gain a handle on their stress and anxiety, they just do not feel content. If that is the case, it is important to speak to someone and seek guidance. While friends and family are a great resource, there are times when it’s important to talk to a professional who will listen to your concerns and offer you objective, unbiased advice on ways to alleviate your stress and anxiety.

For those who choose to seek professional help, Apple Psychological offers a variety of counseling, Anxiety Treatment, a Master Your Stress So You Can Ace the Test Curriculum and Manual, and other great resources. Getting help is not something to be ashamed of and may be the best route for some people. If you find yourself unable to find effective methods to cope with your anxiety, gaining another perspective may be beneficial.

Whichever method you choose to deal with overwhelming and anxious feelings, the important thing is that you try! To learn about how we can help or to book a free consultation, click HERE or call us at 917-526-0766. An experienced counselor specializing in Anxiety Treatment can help.

Does My Teen Need Help for Anxiety?

Anxiety is a common experience for many teenagers, but it can still be overwhelming and difficult to manage. Understanding anxiety and how to cope with it can make a big difference in your daily life. It is important to note that anxiety is positive and necessary on some occasions. We need a certain amount of anxiety to alert us to danger, to motivate us to be responsible, study for exams, be on time for appointments, wake up for work, and make good decisions. However, when anxiety becomes overwhleming, to the point of panic, stress, avoidance, and even paralysis, it results in a decrease in academic and overall performance as well as daily functioning.

1. What are the symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety is a normal and natural response to stress, but it may indicate an anxiety disorder when it becomes persistent and interferes with daily activities. Some common anxiety symptoms include persistent worry, difficulty sleeping, and physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat or sweating. Other physical symptoms of anxiety include headaches, muscle aches, stomacheaches, or being easily fatigued. In addition, symptoms include feeling wound up or on edge, being irritable, or having difficulty concentrating.

2. Understanding triggers.
Teenagers need to understand what triggers their anxiety so that they can work to manage it. Triggers can be different for everyone, but some common triggers for anxiety include stress at school, relationships, and social events. Therapy can help both teenagers and adults understand their triggers so they know how to identify them early and cope with their anxiety more effectively so it does not impact their life. Therapy can also help people understand the negative thoughts that are causing their feelings of anxiety such as “People think I am stupid.” or “If I talk to someone, they will reject me.” Once a person understands their thoughts, they can learn how to change them, which will then decrease their overall anxiety and will result in them feeling better.

3. Coping strategies
There are many effective strategies for managing anxiety. Some strategies include deep breathing, mindfulness, exercise, and identifying and changing negative thought patterns. It can also be helpful to engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as reading, art, or spending time with friends.


4. Support 
Having a supportive network can make a big difference in managing anxiety. This can include friends, family, or a mental health professional. Talking to someone about your feelings can help relieve some of the stress and provide you with coping strategies.

5. Seeking help
If you feel like your anxiety is becoming difficult to manage, and it is impacting your functioning or your child’s functioning,  it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. They can provide a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Anxiety can be a challenge, but it can be managed with the right tools and support. Remember, you are not alone, and help is available. You can lead a fulfilling and joyful life by taking small steps to manage your anxiety and seeking support from those around you.

We can help you get through this difficult time. Contact Us at https://applepsychological.janeapp.com/ or call us at 917-526-0766 . An experienced counselor specializing in Anxiety Treatment can help.