Treating Anxiety in ADHD: the Essential Guide for Rebalancing the Anxious and Hyperactive Brain

The eyes are fixed on vacancy, the sounds of the world melt in to confused unity, the attention is dispersed… and the fore-ground of consciousness is filled, if by anything, by… surrender to the empty passing of time. In the dim background of our mind we know meanwhile what we ought to be doing, dressing ourselves, answering the person who has spoken to us, trying to make the next step in our reasoning. But somehow we cannot start. 

—William James (1890)


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a medical condition that is on the increase in civilised societies today. The strain of maintaining focus and the struggle to sit still makes this condition a real challenge, not only to the person who has it, but also to parents, carers and teachers as well as employers, friends and other family members.

Anxious ADHD is a type of ADHD that has all the symptoms of the classic ADHD (inattentive, disorganised, distractible, restless, hyperactive and impulsive) in conjunction with many other symptoms of high anxiety (tension, nervousness and predicting the worst) and other physical stress symptoms such as gastrointestinal symptoms and headaches. This type of ADHD may or may not be hyperactive.

Ironically, the harder those with ADHD and anxious ADHD try to concentrate, the worst things can become. This is because as the person tries to focus, the regions of the brain involved with concentration, focus and followthrough (the prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum) actually shut down, instead of turn on.

The good news is that ADHD and its anxious symptoms can be effectively treated. Happily, effective treatment does not change the personality of the person with ADHD; it simply removes the barriers that are hindering them from accessing their unique talents and abilities.

Treating Anxious ADHD at a Glimpse

The term ‘ADHD’ has become synonymous with a teacher’s nightmare, conjuring up a picture of a fidgety and disruptive child who struggles to concentrate in the classroom. 

For those living with the condition, however, as well as for those parents and carers of children with ADHD, it is clear that there is much more to it than that!

This course is designed to empower all those who live with the condition and support those who treat it or are impacted by it. 


The learning outcomes include:

  • an in-depth understanding of ADHD and anxious ADHD
  • how the anxious ADHD brain processes thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • knowledge of the three brain regions implicated in anxious ADHD
  • how to rebalance the anxious brain through personalised guided imagery
  • recommended interventions for healing anxious ADHD

My Motivation for Writing This Book...

In the last two and a half years, I have met and spoken to over 13,000 people in a variety of conference and workshop settings, including for educational institutions, non-for-profit groups, private organisations and the general public. 

Meeting with attendees from all walks of life have led me to realise how common and widespread ADHD and anxious ADHD is today. My own research on the subject has also given me many reasons to believe that much can be done to help bring more understanding to people with ADHD, as well as their parents and caregivers. Indeed, not only understanding, but effective treatment to help manage the condition.

You are the inspiration for this book. Among the insights into the condition, you will find ideas and recommendations from some of the top experts in the field who are helping others transform ADHD with anxiety.

My hope is that you find the contents of this book both helpful and life changing.

Yours sincerely,

Wale Oladipo

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Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements 6

    Introduction 7

    Chapter 1: Quick Start: Key facts at a glimpse  

    What is ADHD? 9

    What Is the Difference Between ADHD and ADD? 10

    What Are the Causes of and Contributors to ADHD? 10

    Core Symptoms of ADHD 10

    ADHD and the ‘Executive Function’ 11

    Day to Day Symptoms of ADHD 12

    Beneficial Attributes of ADHD 14

    Other Conditions that May Accompany ADHD 15

    How Does ADHD Get Diagnosed? 17

    Is It Possible to Outgrow ADHD? 19

    Chapter 2: ADHD and Your Brain

    The Neurones 20 

    Neural Networks 21

    Chemical Neurotransmitters 22

    The Three Levels of the Brain 22

    Chapter 3: The Three Brain Regions Largely Implicated in Anxious ADHD

    The Prefrontal Cortex 28

    Problems in the Prefrontal Cortex 31

    The Prefrontal Cortex Rating Scale 32

    Optimising Your Prefrontal Cortex Functions 33

    The Basal Ganglia 35

    Functions of the Basal Ganglia 36

    Problems with the Basal Ganglia 37

    The Basal Ganglia Checklist 37

    Optimising Your Basal Ganglia Functions 38

    The Cerebellum 40

    Symptoms of the Cerebellar Issues 41

    Optimising the Cerebellum 41

    Chapter 4: Classic ADHD

    Common Symptoms of Classic ADHD 42

    Classic ADHD and Self-Medication 43

    Common Subconscious Tricks Played by Individuals with classic ADHD 44

    Chapter 5: Anxious ADHD

    Symptoms of Anxious ADHD 47

    Treating Anxious ADHD 48

    16 Recommended Interventions for Healing Anxious ADHD 48

    Chapter 6: Recommended Interventions for Healing Anxious ADHD

    Dietary Interventions 52

    Regular Aerobic Exercise 56

    Optimise the Gut-Brain Axis 57

    Neurofeedback Training 59

    Work Out the Brain Regularly 61

    Counselling and Psychotherapy 63

    Transform Automatic Negative Thoughts 64

    Count Your blessings, Not Your Burden  67

    Daily Relaxation Exercise 70

    Guided Imagery Relaxation Script 71

    Chapter 7: Tips for Helping a Child with Anxious ADHD 76

    Chapter 8: Tips for Going to Bed and Getting Up 80

    References 82

    Other Resources 83


Accredited Voluntary Register

I am also an Anxiety UK approved therapist providing therapeutic support to the charity’s members and partner beneficiaries. I am subject to Anxiety UK’s regular monitoring of my professional qualifications, supervision, continual professional development, insurance and professional body membership in addition to complying with the ethical framework and professional standards set down by my registered governing body.

Full details of the Anxiety UK approved therapist scheme can be found here - Details about becoming a member of Anxiety UK to be able to access therapy via the charity can be found here