Working Memory is a Link Between Anxiety and ADHD

In some people, anxiety and ADHD are comorbid conditions. Anxious people sometimes have problems paying attention, and people with ADHD sometimes have anxiety symptoms. These attention problems often involve aspects of executive function, such as working memory. Anxiety puts an extra cognitive load on working memory. This makes it harder for anxious people to process information in certain scenarios. People with anxiety and ADHD may have different working memory capacities, but threats and distractions prevent them from utilizing executive functions effectively.


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Anxiety selectively disrupts visuospatial working memory. (Link)

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Changes in neuropsychological functioning following treatment for late-life generalised anxiety disorder. (Link)

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Differences in neuropsychological performance between subtypes of obsessive-compulsive disorder. (Link)

High visual working memory capacity in trait social anxiety. (Link)

How cognitive performance-induced stress can influence right VLPFC activation: an fMRI study in healthy subjects and in patients with social phobia. (Link)

Impaired attentional disengagement from stimuli matching the contents of working memory in social anxiety. (Link)

Individuals lower in working memory capacity are particularly vulnerable to anxiety’s disruptive effect on performance. (Link)

Is behavioral regulation in children with ADHD aggravated by comorbid anxiety disorder? (Link)

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Spatial anxiety relates to spatial abilities as a function of working memory in children. (Link)

The effects of anxious responding on mental arithmetic and lexical decision task performance. (Link)

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The relationships among working memory, math anxiety, and performance. (Link)

Trait anxiety and the neural efficiency of manipulation in working memory. (Link)

Working memory load moderates late attentional bias in social anxiety. (Link)

Working memory, psychiatric symptoms, and academic performance at school. (Link)