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Q. May I know whether being disorganized and forgetting things easily mean ADD?

Answered by
Dr. Vandana Patidar
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 03, 2019

Hi doctor,

I have never done this kind of thing before so let me just start from the beginning. I am a female, 18 years old. I started ADD medication in 8th grade. Then I fell into depression and had severe anxiety which I believe the ADD medications had a big contribution to, so I went on antidepressants. I also had OCD at the time.

After a year of all the medicines, I went off all of them because I thought that they were ruining my life. Now I am entering the senior year of high school, and with all the applications I have to do for college, I really need to be able to focus.

Now, every time I take the medicine, my anxiety gets worse and I feel down, helpless, overwhelmed and unable to do anything I need to do, even though I am stressing out about it, like I am avoiding my fears. I did some research online and I saw an article saying how anxiety disorders can be mislabeled as ADD. I have always had a procrastination problem, not so much focusing. I am very disorganized, forget things easily, restless, etc., but can those symptoms be from an anxiety disorder?

I am notorious for not getting tasks completed simply because I am overwhelmed by the idea of it. I want to get them done, but my mind is so scared that it refuses to go near the subject. It seems like every time I take any kind of ADD medicine, my anxiety worsens, and so I cannot do anything like sit down and study. I am overall confused about if I have ADD, an anxiety disorder, or am just a lazy or emotionally weak person.

Dr. Vandana Patidar

Psychiatry Psychologist/ Counsellor Psychotherapy Sleep Medicine


Welcome to

Yes, you are right. People misinterpret anxiety as ADD.

First thing is that anxiety disorders are much more common than ADD in the adult population. Adult ADD is usually the residual or continuation of childhood ADD. So, if you did not have childhood ADD then there is very less chance of you having ADD.

The restlessness of anxiety has a cognitive component in the form of frequent worries, apprehension, etc. So if there is a cognitive component as well then there is a chance of you having an anxiety disorder is more. A detailed diagnostic workup is essential to confirm the diagnosis. You should take a psychiatric consultation again.

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