Doctor Roberto Olivardia, a specialist in ADHD and O.C.D., Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, talks about the overlap, the links, and how having both of these disorders can impact the severity of each one.
In my private practice I see a lot of people not only with ADHD but I also specialize in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD.
And OCD is a disorder that is characterized by repetitive obsessional thoughts that somebody has that can lead them to be very anxious and very distressed.
And often times as a way of reducing that anxiety they might perform certain rituals or compulsions to mitigate that anxiety but it often actually makes the OCD worse.
And surprisingly people often think of OCD being on an opposite spectrum of people with ADHD but about 30% of people with OCD also have ADHD, and if the ADHD is not recognized then the treatment for the OCD is going to come at a standstill and you find that the opposite is true that when the ADHD is recognized and the treatment is actually through an ADHD lens the momentum and the movement that somebody can make in their OCD treatment is quite significant.
I had a patient recently who actually came in for work around his ADHD and realized that he had a lot of these sort of obsessive compulsive habits where he would check things a certain number of times which a lot of people with add might actually forget to shut off the stove or they might not lock the door. So he always though of those procedures as being part of his ADHD and when in reality there were other things that he was doing that clearly were not part of his ADHD. He had to unplug every appliance out of his whole house for fear that there might be a fire. And its not that the appliance is on. He would just unplug it from the wall because the fear that there was any active electricity might burn down his house. That is not an ADHD thing, that’s an OCD thing and that was one of many things. When he, before leaving his car it would take him sometimes twenty to twenty five minutes to actually exit out of the car because he had to make sure, did he shut off the car? And he would see himself, the key would be in his hand, but it would be well did I really shut it off? So he would turn the car on and then shut it off again (repeat) he would make sure that there was nothing on the gas pedal even though he was not in the car, but what if there was a rock or something on the gas pedal that might cause the car to accelerate it some way. What if he left a light on? So he would be late for appointments and a lot of people chalked up to his ADHD but were actually very much part of his OCD and a lot of times when someone had both ADHD and OCD they can comingle in a way that can make it difficult to tease out what’s the ADD and what’s the OCD.
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