It used to be thought that ADHD typically existed solely on its own. However, as reported by Additude Magazine, “We now know that 50 percent of people with ADHD also suffer from one or more additional conditions, referred to as a comorbidity.”
Most commonly, ADHD comorbidities include anxiety, learning disabilities, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), executive function difficulties, and depression.
Healthline reports another condition that often coexists with ADHD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
“Researchers who have studied the shared neurological and biological links between the conditions say between 8 percent and 25.5 percent of people may have a dual diagnosis — both ADHD and OCD at the same time.” However, they do warn that number may be inflated as one is often mistaken for the other.
The biggest hallmark of ADHD is the inability to sustain one’s attention or to be easily distracted. You may find it difficult to complete a task because you are distracted by environmental noises or other competing thoughts or ideas that come to mind.
OCD can cause you to be distracted but the source is different. You may be preoccupied by an obsession or a compulsion and therefore unable to focus on the task at hand.
Time management is also difficult for individuals with ADHD. They are often late to school, work or scheduled appointments. This chronic lateness is most likely due to inattention, distraction, and impulsive actions.
A person with OCD may also be chronically late because their compulsions cause them to do certain rituals that can be time consuming.
Other similarities listed by Healthline include:
- Both impact relationships with family, friends, and others
- Both can trigger anger, anxiety, and depression
- Both are associated with sleep problems
- Both are associated with gastrointestinal (GI) issues
- Both may be caused or worsened by trauma
There are of course differences as well. For example, individuals with ADHD tend to be spontaneous and risk takers. Whereas individuals with OCD often have incredible concerns about taking risks because of the unknown harm that can occur.
It is important to take the time to get an appropriate diagnosis to understand if you are experiencing ADHD, OCD, or both. With this knowledge, you can then decide on the steps to improve your cognitive function.
Play Attention can help you develop the core cognitive skills that lay the foundation for strong executive function & self-regulation. We also incorporate a full behavior shaping program to help you extinguish self-distracting or disruptive behaviors.