Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are different mental health conditions. OCD involves symptoms of obsessive thoughts, while ADHD makes focusing hard and involves additional symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. What are symptoms of ADHD? ADHD and relationships.

People with OCD tend to have obsessive thoughts, which they try to prevent by engaging in repetitive rituals or compulsions. In contrast, a person with ADHD typically presents with excessive hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulty focusing on one task at a time.

Both conditions may require treatment to improve an individual’s quality of life. The treatment may involve medications, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or behavior management.


ADHD is an externalizing disorder that affects how individuals outwardly relate to their environment. It can present with either inattention or hyperactivity and impulsivity.

ADHD; what are symptoms of adhd

People with ADHD may have varying symptoms that do not fit neatly into each category. They may also experience symptoms of both hyperactivity and inattentiveness.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can cause misunderstandings, frustrations, and resentments in your closest relationships. But there are ways to build a healthier, happier partnership.

Not everyone with ADHD experiences all potential symptoms. Moreover, ADHD may present differently in females and adults.


What are Symptoms of ADHD?

Symptoms of inattention include:

  • becoming easily distracted and having difficulty holding attention
  • being unable to finish tasks due to a loss of focus
  • having difficulty with organization and time management
  • avoiding tasks that require a prolonged mental effort
  • appearing not to listen when others are speaking
  • often losing everyday items
  • making “careless” mistakes and being unable to pay attention to detail
  • being forgetful

What are Symptoms of ADHD?

Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity include:

  • fidgeting and seeming unable to remain still
  • finding it difficult to take turns in activities and conversations
  • speaking and making noises excessively
  • having difficulty being patient

While ADHD comes with many challenges, there are also several potential benefits to having the condition.



OCD is an internalizing disorder, meaning people respond to anxiety by turning inward.

Like ADHD, OCD can also present in two ways: obsessions and compulsions. People with OCD can have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both.

The symptoms of obsessions include distressing, intrusive, or unwanted thoughts, such as:

  • fear of misplacing something
  • intense focus on exactness
  • unwanted thoughts about religion or sex
  • fear of germs or contamination
  • fear of causing oneself or others harm
  • thoughts involving violence toward oneself or others
  • arranging and ordering things in a particular way
  • excessively cleaning oneself or their environment
  • compulsively counting
  • repeatedly checking appliances, taps, and alarms, for example, for fear of damage or accidents (magical thinking)
  • repeating phrases or numbers, either out loud or in the mind
  • checking feelings or bodily sensations

Tracy Firth



Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) share some overlapping symptoms, and they can have similar effects on how people function at school and on the job.

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