June 1


Is Low Frustration Tolerance a Symptom of ADHD?

By Harry Heijligers

June 1, 2022

Do you suffer from Low frustration tolerance?

Does your mind get stuck in endless loops of

"Why can't I do ___"

and "I'm always failing"

and any other negative thoughts like that?

Low frustration tolerance is not just a symptom of ADHD.

It's also a sign of anxiety and depression.

Many people with ADHD often struggle with these issues as well.

If you're struggling with low frustration tolerance...

then you might benefit from learning how to manage your emotions..

and work through problems using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT helps you learn to identify negative thoughts and behaviors, change them, and replace them with positive ones.

In this article, I'll answer the question...

"Is low frustration tolerance a symptom of ADHD?"

I will help you understand the connection between ADHD and low frustration tolerance:


Low Frustration Tolerance May Be a Symptom of ADHD

Low frustration tolerance may be a symptom of ADHD...


I think that it is not.

However, I think there are similarities in the symptoms...

because people with ADHD often have poor coping skills

as people with low frustration tolerance.

People with ADHD often struggle with:

  • impatience
  • lack of focus
  • impulsivity
  • short attention span
  • poor time management
  • being easily distracted
  • low frustration tolerance
  • not being able to stay on task
  • being easily frustrated
  • tendency to procrastinate
  • and more

These symptoms are similar to those of people with low frustration tolerance.

People with low frustration tolerance often have trouble with:

  • learning new things
  • concentrating
  • staying focused
  • following directions
  • working with others
  • completing tasks
  • getting along with others
  • and more

These symptoms are similar to those of people with ADHD.

So, the symptoms of ADHD and Low Frustration Tolerance are quite the same.


Low Frustration Tolerance Isn't Always a Symptom of ADHD

This is because low frustration tolerance is not just a symptom of ADHD.

It's also a sign of anxiety and depression.

And some people have ADHD but don't have low frustration tolerance.

For example, I know someone who has ADHD and struggles with low frustration tolerance.

But he doesn't have anxiety or depression.

Similarly, I know someone who does not have ADHD but suffers from anxiety and depression.

She has low frustration tolerance.

So, low frustration tolerance can have various causes...

one of which is ADHD.

And although the symptoms of low frustration tolerance and ADHD are very similar...

low frustration tolerance isn't always a symptom of ADHD.

Low Frustration tolerance is an important part of managing ADHD

The good news is that low frustration tolerance is something that you can learn to manage.

And, if you learn to manage it, you can improve your life.

Here's why:

  • You can use your mind to control your behavior.
  • You can learn to cope better with difficult situations.
  • You can learn to follow directions.
  • You can learn to get along better with others.
  • You can learn to complete tasks.
  • You can learn to concentrate.
  • You can learn to pay attention.
  • You can learn to stop distracting yourself.
  • You can learn to relax.
  • You can learn to take breaks when needed.
  • You can learn to set realistic goals.
  • You can learn to deal with stress.
  • You can learn to handle anger.
  • You can learn to make decisions.
  • You can learn to accept responsibility for your actions.
  • You can learn to live by rules.
  • You can learn to solve problems.
  • You can learn to work well with others.
  • You can learn to be patient.
  • You can learn to avoid distractions.
  • You can learn to keep track of time.
  • You can learn to organize your thoughts.
  • You can learn to prioritize.
  • You can learn to plan ahead.
  • You can learn to do what needs to be done.
  • You can learn to say no.
  • You can learn to ask for help.
  • You can learn to self-regulate.
  • You can learn to stay calm in stressful situations.
  • You can learn to focus on the task at hand.
  • You can learn to enjoy doing things.
  • You can learn to develop positive habits.
  • You can learn to overcome obstacles.
  • You can learn to let go of negative emotions.
  • You can learn to forgive yourself.
  • You can learn to express gratitude.

All these things are ways to develop yourself more and more in managing your ADHD.

Of course, you can't improve all facets at once and once and for all.

This is a process.

Take it step by step.

And every tiny improvement will be a way to get a grip on your ADHD and your low frustration tolerance.

You may think that this list is too long. Maybe you think that you'll never be able to implement all of them. Or perhaps you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to implement all of them at once.

But, here's the thing:

If you want to change anything about your life, you need to start somewhere. Even if you don't see immediate results, you're still making progress.

So, try to implement one or more improvements. They will be very rewarding to you, I promise, although you might not see immediate results.

Try to implement just one or two of them each day.

And, as you continue implementing new behaviors, you'll find that you'll be able to add more and more to your daily routine.


In conclusion, low frustration tolerance is not really a symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

While it's hard to say whether it's caused by ADHD or vice versa...

there are several factors that contribute to low frustration tolerance.

For example, if you suffer from anxiety, depression, or stress, you may be less able to handle frustrating situations than someone who doesn't struggle with these issues.

To overcome your low frustration tolerance...

you'll need to address the root causes of your problem.

In particular, you'll want to seek treatment if you believe that you have ADHD.

This will help you develop strategies to deal with stressful situations and improve your coping abilities.

Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand the relationship between ADHD and low frustration tolerance.

And I also hope that it gave you some pointers to handle your ADHD better.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Harry Heijligers

About the author

Harry Heijligers has more than 25 years of experience as a Project Manager and more than 17 years of experience as an NLP Trainer. He has a Dutch blog about NLP here: HarryHeijligers.com.
If you'd like to know about the Smart Leadership Hut, please check this: Smart Leadership Hut.

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