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Is your procrastination because of ADHD or anxiety?


Is Your Procrastination Due to ADHD or Anxiety?

Some people diagnosed with anxiety find that they also display symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and vice versa. You may find yourself in a similar situation, wondering what’s actually causing your procrastination – ADHD or anxiety?

While ADHD and anxiety are very different, a few symptoms may overlap. What makes things trickier is that anxiety is often associated with ADHD, as some adults may have both conditions simultaneously.

Research shows that up to 80% of adults diagnosed with ADHD have at least one other disorder affecting their mental health, including mood and anxiety disorders.

Mental health on a spectrum

Like many mental health conditions, ADHD exists on a spectrum. Some people are so mildly affected, they never need a diagnosis. And sometimes ADHD is so challenging, it makes it difficult to maintain a job and a stable life.

Anxiety disorders also exist on a spectrum, and can affect your life to varying degrees. Keep this in mind as you read further about each one!

What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition, which is a way of saying that your brain and central nervous system (CNS) developed a little differently than other folks’. Some people use the term “neurodiverse".

ADHD impacts executive functioning, often presenting as difficulty concentrating and hyperactivity, but it is much more than that. People with ADHD also have trouble with regulating emotions, impulsivity, making decisions, following instructions, and more. 

Scientists don't know the exact cause of ADHD, but some studies link low dopamine levels with ADHD. 

What is Anxiety?

All humans experience anxiety—a feeling of worry or unease, usually about future events or outcomes—at some point in their lives. It’s a normal emotional response to difficult and uncomfortable situations. 

However, problems arise when the anxiety or fear reaction becomes so intense, frequent, excessive, or irrational that it negatively impacts your life. 

Common subcategories for anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, panic attacks or panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Comparing Symptoms of ADHD vs. Anxiety

ADHD and Anxiety have similar symptoms, but also distinct differences. See the chart below to see where there is overlap and differences:




Trouble concentrating


Feelings of restlessness and trouble relaxing

Problems with sleep

Short attention span and easily distracted

Being forgetful and misplacing things

Inability to prioritize, organize and plan

Unable to sit still and constantly fidgeting

Interrupting conversations

Being unable to wait your turn

Impending sense of doom or danger

Constantly feeling nervous, tense, and on edge

Rapid breathing or fast heart rate

Sweating and trembling

Trouble controlling feelings of worry


How to Spot the Difference between ADHD or Anxiety

The difference between ADHD and anxiety ultimately comes down to whether or not the individual is not focused because of fearful, apprehensive thoughts, or is not focused because of being easily distracted even though their mind is calm.

In sum, people with generalized anxiety disorders will have poor focus because their minds are dominated by anxious, worrisome thoughts. In contrast, an inattentive ADHD person’s mind can be quiet, but easily distracted, which results in their inattention. They may only show anxiety sometimes about a specific situation (like in social interactions) or as a consequence of procrastination (like waiting until the day before the assignment is due to start).

Can it be both?

Yes, it can! Research shows that about 50% of people with ADHD also have anxiety. It’s important to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. You can also get a second opinion if you feel you’ve been misdiagnosed (which happens often!). 

Traditional Treatments for ADHD and Anxiety

Treatments for ADHD and anxiety also have similarities and differences. 

Treatment becomes a little tricker if you’re experiencing both conditions concurrently, as some medications used to treat ADHD (mainly stimulants) may exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Below are some traditional treatments for ADHD and anxiety:

  • Medications such as stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall), antidepressants and benzodiazepines
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Exercise
  • Mindfulness/meditation
  • Breathwork
  • Supplements

Amino Acid Supplements for ADHD and Anxiety Symptoms

Amino acids are the building blocks of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. This is important because ADHD has been linked to low levels of dopamine. 

Certain amino acids have been found in studies to relieve symptoms of anxiety and ADHD. Let’s take a deeper look at some!

  • N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine: L-Tyrosine is a precursor to dopamine. It is thought to help increase dopamine levels by providing the body with the building blocks it needs to make dopamine.
  • Taurine: Taurine is an amino acid that is found in high concentrations in the brain. It has been shown to improve focus and concentration by reducing anxiety and stress.
  • L-Theanine: L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. It has been shown to improve focus and concentration by increasing alpha brain waves.
  • Acetyl L-Carnitine HCl: L-Carnitine is an amino acid that helps to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria, where they can be burned for energy. It is thought to help improve focus and motivation by providing the brain with more energy.
  • Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is a key player in the synthesis of converting amino acids into neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin


Attention Chews help you conquer your to-do's!

Attention Chews have all the necessary amino acids and co-factors to increase dopamine naturally and increase motivation.

Even better, Attention Chews are stimulant-free. Most productivity supplements out there contain caffeine which can increase stress hormones. We intentionally crafted Attention Chews with vitamins and minerals that reduce stress instead.

*Please consult with your healthcare provider before trying new supplements for focus and productivity. This article does not diagnose or treat any condition, it is for educational purposes only.