Anxiety & Depression

Where one lurks, the other may also be wreaking havoc. Anxiety and depression can present symptoms similar to ADHD and SPD, causing a delayed diagnosis or even a misdiagnosis at times. Therefore, it is important to understand the similarities and differences between anxiety, SPD and ADHD.

Anxiety Disorders

Isn't anxiety normal? We all worry. Yes, that's true. But an actual anxiety disorder can present debilitating symptoms. The length and intensity are telltale signs of an anxiety disorder.

Examples include:

  • worries excessively about separation from a parent
  • is terrified of being timed during a test
  • must have perfect handwriting
  • worries incessantly about peer approval

Left untreated, anxiety can exacerbate a child's challenges as he/she learns to avoid and/or negatively react to the external and internal stressors.


The symptoms of ADHD or SPD can leave a child irritable, sad, overwhelmed and hopeless. Left unaddressed, these symptoms can signal a greater issue: depression.

Stemming either from a hereditary link or the result of the emotional toll of ADHD or SPD, depression has two primary tell-tale signs: symptoms are pervasive, lasting weeks or even months; and the intensity of symptoms affects day-to-day life.

A study conducted by the University of Chicago noted that adolescents suffering with ADHD were 10 times more likely to have depression (compared to children without ADHD). And girls, especially those suffering from ADD-predominantly inattentive type, are at a higher risk for developing depression.


Helpful resources include our ADHD Kids Journal and ADHD Survival Kit, both of which also address issues specific to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), anxiety and gifted/2e.


FREE Weekly Resources!

Sign up to receive free weekly printables and more!