People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have an anxiety disorder that results in obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. These thoughts and behaviours are experienced to such an extent that they get in the way of daily living.
People with OCD usually belong to one of these groups:
Checkers who continually check things associated with possible danger. They check for things such as: if the door is locked or if the stove is switched off.
Hoarders and collectors who keep unnecessary items. They don’t throw things away as they fear something bad will happen if they do.
Washers who are fearful of contamination. They have obsessions with cleaning or hand-washing.
Counters, arrangers / orderers who need symmetry and exactness. They might perform rituals and counting or seem superstitions about certain numbers and colors.
Sinners who fear if everything isn’t just so, they will be punished.
People with OCD often have ‘magical thinking’. They think if everything is perfect, nothing bad will happen. They perform their ritual; it offers a moment of mental peace before the obsessive thoughts start again.
Do you have ADHD, OCD or both?
ADHD and OCD might look alike. Both are highly genetic and result in reduced attention, poor memory and impulse control.
ADDers might also display behaviours that, on the surface, look like OCD. However, they have developed these behaviours to help themselves to function in the world, instead of the constant obsessive thoughts that drive a person with OCD.
For example, someone with ADHD might run round their home checking the windows and doors are shut and locked before they leave. Habits like these aid poor memory (which ADDers are prone to) and have been developed to avoid any unpleasant surprises. In contrast, someone with OCD is probably already certain that everything is secure, but he /she would be checking due to an obsessive urge.
ADHDers who keep an organized environment do so because it gives them a sense of emotional peace. They know they feel more focused, less scattered in a space as such. It’s a way for them to control the negative effects of ADHD rather than an obsession.
Finally, ADDers often do have a lot of clutter; but rather than being hoarders, it’s because decluttering is boring and involves attention to detail to keep clutter at bay.
Another big difference between ADHD and OCD is chemical. ADHD is in part due to low dopamine levels in the brain and OCD is due in part to low serotonin in the brain.
The medications prescribed for the 2 conditions are different too. Stimulant meds like Ritalin, prescribed for ADHD, aren’t effective for OCD and SSRI anti-depressant meds aren’t usually helpful for ADDers.
While ADHD and OCD are very different, many people do have both ADHD and OCD. In fact, if you have ADHD, you have a higher percentage of also having OCD than someone with ADD.
Remember, if you have either OCD or ADHD or both: Don’t panic! Both can be treated and managed.
Do you have OCD and ADHD? What have you found most helpful in managing these conditions? Leave me a note comments section.