Mental illnesses are complex to understand and distinguish. They have different aspects that can be categorized using different criteria. For example, you might organize a mental illness using its symptoms, causes, the mental processes it affects, and their severity. But sometimes the boundaries between different mental health conditions become blurred, and misinformation makes understanding more difficult. One typical example can be found in the difference between obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), where they are often confused. But before discussing them, let’s examine what makes them similar.
What is the common denominator between obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
OCD and ADHD are conditions that are sometimes misdiagnosed despite their distinct differences. This misunderstanding occurs when the consequences of these mental health conditions are the deciding factor in the assessment. On the other hand, using the motives and reasons behind the apparent conditions can lead to more accurate assessments. However, these terms share similarities because they both:
Frontal lobe: According to an article by Amy FTAADHD is associated with weaker structure and functions of prefrontal cortex circuits. Similarly, OCD also affects the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, and thalamus.
Negatively affects a person’s ability to form healthy relationships, pay attention, and succeed at work or study: Both conditions cause problems in the personal and professional life of the individual. It leads to strained relationships, incomplete tasks, and a lack or diversion of attention.
Making it difficult to sleep properly ADHD is associated with prolonged sleep, often resulting in staying up late or waking up late at night. Likewise, OCD is associated with reduced sleep time, ataxia, or insufficient sleep. Both conditions disturb the sleep cycle or circadian rhythm.
Caused or affected by the shock: Trauma can play an important role in both cases, serving as both cause and effect.
Read more: The difference between ADHD and Asperger syndrome
The differences between obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
1. The reason
ADHD results from decreased activity in the areas of the brain that control the level of attention and activity. It is characterized by a lack of dopamine and norepinephrine. A deficiency in these hormones can lead to low levels of concentration, anger problems, low self-esteem, impulsivity, lack of organization, anxiety, and other issues. On the other hand, OCD is caused by communication problems between the frontal parts of the brain, which use serotonin (a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells throughout the body) to communicate. Thus, increased levels of serotonin may decrease the severity of OCD.
The behavior of individuals with OCD and ADHD is another clear differentiating factor. People with OCD engage in compulsive, repetitive, or addictive-like behaviors. On the other hand, people with ADHD tend to be disorganized, lack focus, and are unaware of the flow of time in daily activities (time blindness).
People with ADHD are motivated by feelings of interest, urgency, novelty, and emotion. They find it difficult to motivate them for activities in which they lack interest. On the other hand, people with OCD are inspired by a need to escape intrusive thoughts or obsessions that keep coming back involuntarily.
Read more: People share their experiences with ADHD Awareness Month
OCD can be confused with ADHD by the general public, and in some cases, misdiagnosed, because these conditions share some similarities. The obvious differences between these conditions are how they occur, the specialized chemicals and areas of the brain that affect them, how people with these conditions behave, and how their motivations differ.
If you are confused about whether you suffer from any of these conditions or you are having difficulty understanding what a loved one is going through, it is advisable to get professional help. Fortunately, today you can find an affordable treatment online with high quality care from the comfort of your own home. here we have A list of the best platforms to help you do the same.
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