Anger and the Connection to Anxiety: Common in ADHD and Dyslexia

 “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”  Buddha

When do you get angry?

How do you handle anxiety?

I have been discussing Dyslexia and ADHD behavior during my past blogs. In this particular topic, I will focus on how anxiety and anger are correlated with each other, particularly with people who are suffering from Dyslexia and ADHD.

As a human being it is very normal for us to get emotional sometimes. A lot of instances when we are in an anxious state, we try to hide this emotion by being angry. Anger, then become our fight or flight response in a tough situation.

As mentioned in Psychology Today, In reaction to some perceived threat, they’re both, as Kaitlin Vogel notes, kindred states of “agitated unease”.

Dyslexic people experience anxiety as a result of their constant frustration with school or social environment. As anxiety causes a fear emotion, anxiety then develops into an emotion which is “anger.” Sadly, this behavior is often misinterpreted as laziness or lack of apathy, where in reality dyslexic individuals are anxious to participate and socialize.

Based on Dyslexia Help, “Anxiety and anger are just a few of the emotional symptoms experienced by those with dyslexia. Learn the facts about what dyslexics feel and how their experience differs from people without the condition.”  

According to Very Well Mind, People with ADHD (both children and adults) feel emotions more intensely, also known as emotion dysregulation, described as a poor ability to manage emotional responses or to keep them within an acceptable range of typical emotional reactions. It can be characterized by:

  • Persistent irritability
  • Increased impatience, particularly when stressed
  • Overreactions in response to minor stressors
  • Intense emotions
  • Outbursts of explosive anger
  • Difficulty expressing anger in words

Due to their minimal capacity to handle their emotions, individuals with ADHD can change mood swings quickly all throughout the day. They get easily frustrated too, causing them to be anxious and later on produce an angry emotion.  

People with Dyslexia and ADHD have low self-esteem. As they are perceived to be slow-learners and less affectionate, this results in them to feel insecure, thus developing a poor self-image. 

The International Dyslexia Association shares some steps on how to help them. 

  • First, listening to a child’s feelings is critical. 
  • Second, it’s extremely important to provide a clear, simple explanation of dyslexia and describe the possible causes of the challenges that result. T
  • Third, teachers and parents must reward effort, not just the product or the outcome.
  • Fourth, when confronting defiant or avoidant behavior, adults must not inadvertently discourage the child with dyslexia. 
  • Finally, it is important to help students set realistic goals for themselves. 

With children and adults suffering ADHD, here are the recommended steps to help them with their anger management as tackled by ADDitude

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This psychotherapy focuses on aiming to change oneself negative thinking. It is said to improve skills in the following aspects: 

Interior regulation: refers to what individuals can do within themselves to manage out-of-control anger 

Some examples of coping skills include:

      • anticipatory coping, or thinking an exit plan to the triggering/anxiety situation 
      • appraisals and self-talk to keep yourself calm
      • shifting attention to focus elsewhere instead of divulging into stressful or disappointing situation

Exterior supports

    • Social connections – finding support system
    • Exercise, stress reduction, and other self-care strategies can help

Medication – This will help them manage their core symptoms but not fully on emotional dysregulation. 

In this harsh world we are living in, we can make it a better place by paying attention and listening to people who need our help, especially our family or loved ones. Do not limit your knowledge.

Learn more about the neuro diverse world and show them genuine care. 


Thank you, 

JoyGenea Schumer
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach, and Speaker

Leave a Reply