Anxiety/Depression

LD & MENTAL HEALTH

Learning Disabilities commonly co-occur with neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., ADHD, communication disorders, Developmental Coordination Disorder, ASD) or other mental health disorders (e.g., anxiety disorders, depressive and bipolar disorders).

Struggling in academic subjects can impact emotions:

It is important to note that there is a significant interplay between Learning Disabilities, particularly in reading and writing, and behavioural and emotional symptoms, including mood, anxiety, social withdrawal, emotional dysregulation, negative emotionality, low frustration tolerance, aggression, and even serious rule-breaking behaviour.
Difficulties at school or work can significantly impact an individual’s ability to regulate their behaviour and emotions and vice versa.
The individual is likely to become easily frustrated and avoidant of undesirable or difficult tasks, which can lead to avoidance (e.g., school refusal).
Feeling unable to meet others’ expectations and feeling powerless to change this can result in feelings of anxiety and depression and behaviours that may be perceived as oppositional (e.g., low frustration tolerance, inappropriate behaviour, noncompliance, poor judgement).
Difficulty processing information may add to emotional stress:

Emotional difficulties may also stem from, and certainly contribute to, a relative weakness in processing information.
This would be particularly true within the context of a demanding classroom, workplace, or social situation that requires quick processing and responses.
Indeed, in an environment where there are pressures to perform faster or keep up with the group, it would not be unusual for the individual to experience anxiety as a consequence of slow processing speed.
Poor visual perception (i.e., difficulty differentiating and paying close attention to visual information and cues, particularly when feeling pressured or under time constraint), has implications in other areas of functioning other than school achievement. That is, the individual may not pay as close attention to nonverbal communication as needed to be able to interpret the situation accurately and respond in a caring and sensitive manner to others. This may affect social interactions and relationships.