The Truth About ADD and OCD

Many people playfully state that they have a mental disease, such as Attention Deficit Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, in order to explain certain behaviors. For example, students often blame their poor grades, inability to focus, and compulsiveness to cheat on ADD, when they actually do not try in school hard enough to excel. In terms of OCD, many will say that they have OCD if they like to organize their belongings in a certain way. Due to these fake claims, not many people know what it is actually like for people to suffer from these diseases.

Attention Deficit Disorder is a mental illness that can be broken down into three categories: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and the combined type. Unlike what the media portrays as ADD, it is not that easy to identify a person with ADD. A person with the inattention type will most likely:

  • Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
  • Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable
  • Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
  • Daydream and move slowly
  • Not seem to listen when spoken to
  • Struggle to follow instructions
  • Possibly skip the entire list because it was too long to read

A person with the hyperactivity type will most likely:

  • Fidget and squirm in their seats
  • Talk nonstop
  • Dash around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
  • Be constantly in motion

The cause of ADD can be one of three things: environment, society, and primarily, genetics. It is treated, mainly, through medications. If a person with ADD takes their medications daily, then they will be able to lead a mostly-normal life. ADD tests, ever since people have been faking the illness, have improved to ensure that the people who really do have the disorder are getting the help they deserve.

OCD, on the other hand, is a little difficult to fake since the symptoms are much more drastic than those of ADD. Despite the comments that are made about the disease, it is a very serious malady that can drive one insane if not taken care of correctly. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a condition where people feel the need to take care of something, such as keeping themselves clean or organizing something to perfection, in order to soothe their anxiety. What people do not know is that there is more to OCD than just striving to be neat and tidy. Other symptoms of OCD include:

  • Seeking reassurance from others constantly – seeking reassurance from others is fine from time to time, but when the questions become increasingly repetitive, that is when you know you have OCD.
  • Counting – now this one seems a little odd, but people with OCD often count everything they do. This stems from believing in superstitions, such as the lucky number seven or the unlucky number thirteen. It comes to the point where they cannot get the numbers out of their head. For example, a person who is walking up the stairs may take them seven at a time just to ease their anxiety.
  • The need to check something obsessively – this includes pressing Ctrl-C ten times to make sure you copied something, making sure that the door is locked five times, checking that the stove is off three times, checking for errors in this sentence ten times, so on and so forth.
  • Having everything in uniform – And because I changed this sentence into italics, those with OCD will go insane to change it.

Although there aren’t as many symptoms as ADD, they are much more serious. A patient can spend hours cleaning their house and still not be satisfied. They might only be satisfied if the volume on their TV is a multiple of seven. Things like this may seem odd to most people, but their life is a nightmare if not treated correctly. For thirteen-year-old Megan, OCD conferences help her connect with others with OCD, which helped her cope with the illness. However, going to conferences do not help treat the disorder; medications, like for ADD, are given to the patients to ease their anxiety.

Real people everyday deal with diseases like these and rarely ever complain with what they have to deal with. Famous comedian Howie Mandel suffers with OCD and ADD; yet, he still continues to perform as a comedian and judge without having to sacrifice anything. Those people that claim to have certain mental illnesses when in reality they don’t cloud the truth about the maladies.


“Diagnosing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 08 Aug. 2014. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

“10 Signs You May Have OCD.” N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

“Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Signs and Symptoms.”Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

Japra, Nikita, and Katheryn Nathanson. “Girl, 13, Learns to ‘Just Breathe’ After Sudden OCD, Panic Attacks.” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.


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