Can ADHD Cause Social Anxiety? Understanding the Connection

Dr Lisa Turner

Dr Lisa Turner

World renowned visionary, author, high-performance mindset trainer for coaches to elevate skills, empower clients to achieve their maximum potential

Closeup of unhappy stressed woman suffering from tension-type headache triggered by stress, depression or overworking, female having pain in head, feeling anxious and depressed while sitting in office

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and social anxiety are two common conditions that can significantly impact an individual’s daily life. While they may seem unrelated, research has shown that there is a link between ADHD and social anxiety. In this article, we’ll explore the connection between these conditions and discuss strategies for managing both ADHD and social anxiety.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects an individual’s ability to pay attention and control impulsive behaviors. It is typically diagnosed in childhood, but can also be diagnosed in adults. ADHD is often characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

Symptoms of ADHD can vary widely and may include:

  • Difficulty paying attention or staying focused
  • Difficulty following instructions or completing tasks
  • Struggling to organize or prioritize tasks
  • Being forgetful or easily distracted
  • Being impulsive or acting on impulse without thinking things through
  • Being restless or constantly on the go

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder that involves a fear of social situations and being judged by others. It can manifest as a fear of public speaking, interacting with strangers, or being in social situations in general.

Symptoms of social anxiety may include:

  • Avoiding social situations
  • Difficulty speaking or performing in front of others
  • Excessive worry about social situations
  • Physical symptoms such as sweating, racing heart, or difficulty speaking
  • H3: The Connection between ADHD and Social Anxiety

Research has shown that individuals with ADHD are at an increased risk for developing social anxiety. This may be due in part to the challenges that individuals with ADHD often face in social situations. For example, difficulty paying attention or following social cues may lead to awkward or inappropriate interactions, which can increase the risk of social anxiety.

Additionally, individuals with ADHD may be more prone to negative self-perception and low self-esteem, which can also increase the risk of social anxiety. Finally, the impulsivity and hyperactivity associated with ADHD may make it more difficult for individuals to regulate their emotions and responses in social situations, leading to increased anxiety.

Managing ADHD and Social Anxiety

If you have both ADHD and social anxiety, it’s important to seek treatment for both conditions. Treatment for ADHD may include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Treatment for social anxiety may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

Some strategies that may be helpful for managing both conditions include:

  • Seeking support: It’s important to have a support system of friends, family, and professionals who can listen and offer guidance.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
  • Exercising regularly: Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve mood.
  • Getting enough sleep: Sleep is essential for mental and physical health. Make sure you’re getting enough rest each night.
  • Setting goals and taking small steps: It’s important to have a sense of purpose and direction. Set achievable goals and take small steps towards them.
  • Seeking professional help: If your ADHD or social anxiety is interfering with your daily life, it’s important to seek professional help. A mental health professional can help you develop strategies for managing your conditions and finding peace of mind.

Role of Medication in Treating ADHD and Social Anxiety

Medication can be an effective treatment option for both ADHD and social anxiety. For ADHD, stimulant medications such as Ritalin or Adderall may be prescribed to help improve focus and attention. Non-stimulant medications such as Strattera may also be used.

For social anxiety, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often the first line of treatment. These medications work by increasing the levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that plays a role in mood and anxiety. SSRIs may be used alone or in combination with therapy.

It’s important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of medication with your healthcare provider. Medication is just one aspect of treatment, and it’s often most effective when used in combination with therapy and other lifestyle changes. It’s also important to follow your medication plan as prescribed and to report any side effects or concerns to your healthcare provider. Together, you and your healthcare team can determine the best treatment plan for managing your ADHD and social anxiety.


In conclusion, ADHD and social anxiety are two conditions that can significantly impact an individual’s daily life. if you are experiencing symptoms. Treatment for ADHD and social anxiety may include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Some strategies that may be helpful for managing both conditions include seeking support, practicing relaxation techniques, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, setting goals, and seeking professional help. With the right treatment and support, it’s possible to manage both ADHD and social anxiety and lead a fulfilling and productive life. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Together, you and your healthcare team can develop a plan that meets your needs and helps you find peace of mind.


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