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Emotional Symptoms of ADHD

By Michelle Bolyn ; Updated August 14, 2017

People who struggle with ADHD, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, experience emotional and physical symptoms that affect their ability to be successful at school and work and maintain healthy relationships. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of ADHD can be seen as early as infancy and usually are present before a child turns 7. Treatment for this disorder includes therapy, medication and lifestyle changes.


Many children, teens and adults with ADHD experience frustration due to the symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. They may become extremely frustrated when they have a hard time concentrating during a test or when they forget about an important appointment. Adults with ADHD will become frustrated and disappointed in themselves when they misplace items, forget a friend’s birthday or arrive at work late. They may not understand why they continue to do these things even when they are exerting effort to make changes.

Stress and Worry reports that children, teens and adults experience stress and worry due to their inability to meet goals and fulfill responsibilities. Children with ADHD might worry constantly about failing at school and making friends. Their impulsive and socially unacceptable behaviors lead to peers making fun of them. They become an easy target for bullying, which can lead to children feeling scared about going to school. Teens might worry that they won’t be able to get into college with their grades or find a job after graduating.

Adults with ADHD feel overwhelmed and stressed when the symptoms affect their job performance, especially if they are the main source of income for their households. An adult might be warned about his inability to complete projects or stay focused during staff meetings, be demoted or lose his job due to this mental health issue.

Depression and Anxiety

Depressive and anxiety disorders sometimes coexist with ADHD. The emotional toll of ADHD can cause someone to develop depression, which is characterized by feelings of sadness, issues eating and sleeping, trouble concentrating, fatigue and thoughts of suicide. Someone also could develop an anxiety disorder due to the pressures and stress of ADHD. Emotional symptoms of anxiety disorders include overwhelming anxiety and fear, trouble concentrating, fatigue and sleep issues.


One of the most prominent signs of ADHD is the person’s inability to concentrate. Many times children, teens and adults with ADHD can focus on things they are really interested in; however, if they’re not interested, it can be extremely difficult to get through a test, homework assignment or household chore. Many parents will notice that their child takes much longer than normal to complete assignments and chores and may become frustrated with the child not knowing it is due to a mental health condition.

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