View Full Version : ADHD with OCPD....

10-23-07, 01:41 AM
this is the 24th post i've posted and i just joined this morning!!! this is what i do when i should be working on my case study...

i'm just looking to see if there is anyone else out there...and if you have any tips to cope. my perfectionism has probably caused me more trouble in school than my ADD. the combo of having major procrastination problems and a bad case of perfectionism pretty much means i cannot turn in anything on time to save my life. it's horrible...i intentionally avoid all classes with papers and projects b/c a.) of the anxiety they cause me and b.) due to me not turning assignments in on time i end up making a bad grade in the class anyways...i've talked to my doctor and she said i needed to major in something that required little writing and i agreed.

the problem right now is that i have just switched my major to early childhood/elem education and this is probably by far the worst major i could have picked for someone like me. first of all, you are judged by the professors at the end of each semester whether you arrived to class on time, turned in work the dates they were due, met with teachers when you were assigned too, etc etc. they do this in order to evaluate you and whether or not you be allowed into the student-teacher education. the whole major is papers and projects and testing your organizational skills and time management...b/c of my experiences in elementary school with some pretty horrible teachers, i am very passionate about teaching and i know if i can make it through the school part of it i would be very good at it.

does anyone have any tips on dealing with ADHD and perfectionism??? any info would be greatly appreciated.

Grey Kameleon
10-03-08, 09:10 PM
This is a really old topic, but I'll bump it because I'm dealing with the same problem. I am 'self-diagnosed' OCPD, which means I have all the symptoms in spades and am coming to realize that it is a problem. I have given up on clinical psychology for the most part and am wanting to actually deal with the problem, not just read lists of diagnostic criteria and shell out thousands of dollars for therapy. Any resources, information, etc., would be greatly appreciated.

10-05-08, 06:05 PM
Oh, let me chime in here!

I have ADD (no physical hyperactivity) and also OCPD. I am so glad there are others out there who share in this.

One of the things I found have helped me is to break up huge tasks into smaller ones, especially when it comes to organizing. My house is a sea of papers and things that I refuse to throw away on the off chance that I MIGHT need it someday. I find that when I try to organize, I make too many sub piles, in essence making a bigger mess.

Recently, I made my first step towards organization. I took a bag full of my papers and began to go through them. I separated them into two for anything dated before 2008 and one for anything dated in 2008. Now keep in mind, it was only ONE bag of paper, and it was difficult to ignore the urge to categorize them further. Once I was done with that, I put aside the "Past" pile and began separating the 2008 pile into two pile. Just to the "Past" pile wouldn't sit there if I lost ambition, I placed the past pile back into it's original bag.

With the 2008 pile, I separated it into legal documents and bills. I put each pile into a folder, so that, if I lost ambition, it would be easy to put them back into the bag, AND they would already be sorted the next time I got the ambition.

I continued, using this method, and, LO AND BEHOLD, I had successfully organized one of my bags of paper. The trick is to make sure you can clean it up easily...then you don't feel trapped, and you don't feel the urge to "give up" when you get distracted.

With the perfectionism, it is a constant struggle, but I find that procrastination is very effective. Let's say you are writing a letter, and you make a mistake. You are out of white out and it looks so messy that you want to do it over again. At this point, procrastinate! Tell yourself you can re-write it AFTER you finish the letter...and you have to really mean it for this to work. Once you finish the letter, your ADD becomes your friend and urges you that..."it looks good enough; do you really want to rewrite it again?"

Basically, you can make ADD and OCPD (the perfectionism) work against each other. When you sit down to do your assignment, only do one section of it. Keep telling yourself that you only have to do ONE section of it, and then reward yourself for completing it. This helps me, and I hope it will help you.

Also, you may want to search for an ADD specialist in your area and an ADD coach. Unfortunately, there aren't many general psychologists that understand the intricacies of having these two very conflicting disorders. Even my own psychologist has a difficult time suggesting solutions to me, because she can't comprehend how an ADD mind works.

Do either of you have problems with obsessions and addictions as well?

Grey Kameleon
10-05-08, 10:24 PM
Do either of you have problems with obsessions and addictions as well?

I've always had problems with what they call scrupolosity. It manifests differently after I dropped out of organized religion, but it's still there. That's kind of an addiction and an obsession. As far as actual addictions, just the three that I share with every other college student I've ever met: Caffeine, nicotine, and procrastination.

11-22-08, 04:31 PM
Hello~ I just joined last night. I decided to search the web to see if there was such as thing as having both ADD & OCPD. My therapist, PCP, and psychiatrist really don't seem to know for sure. I'm on Adderall for the ADD, which I have found quite helpful; however, I'm not sure if it's actually making my OCPD even worse. I am also self-diagnosed with the OCPD. I was in graduate school for my Masters in Social Work, when I really started to notice the symptoms. I believe there is a distinct difference between OCD and OCPD. I've since finished grad school and am currently a mental health clinician who has worked with a client who clearly suffered from OCD - irrational thoughts are the major difference. OCPD being a personality disorder is much more difficult to treat. It can often take me an entire day to one task since it needs to meet my idea of perfect (which doesn't exist). I type a line or two, review, then delete and start over again. My husband and kids now understand, which makes a huge difference, but life just has not been the same for many months now. When I try to do something that I used to enjoy, or spend quality time with my family... it drives me crazy. Sorry for the length of this post... that's another problem... I can't stop, once I've started. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

11-22-08, 10:17 PM
Hi LinZ,
I don't have OCPD, only the ADD but my neighbor has ADHD, OCPD and BPD. She sees the same doctor that I see, as well as the rest of my family.
The doctor that we see is very experienced in treating people who have a lot of comorbidities and making a huge difference. He enjoys dealing with complex problems and finding the solution. My one friend was diagnosed with ADHD, Bipolar disorder, anxiety problems (don't remember which specific one though) and BPD. She couldn't believe the difference the right doctor and the right treatment made.

There is some interesting information at his website and I highly recommend his book, "Biological Unhappiness" by Dr. Leland Heller. He discusses depression, GAD, ADHD, OCD, OCPD, bipolar disorder, cyclothymia and BPD (borderline personality disorder) along with a few others in his book and it is very readable and understandable. He just finished a new edition and it has gone out to the printer but I don't know how long before it is published.
Short of going to see this doctor, who is in Florida, I would recommend you read his book. His understanding of many disorders is phenomenal. He was able to help my husband when no one else could. My husband is ADHD and BPD and also had major depression at the time he went to see this doctor. I've also sent about a dozen people to see this doctor and they've all been very happy with him. His website is
If you can't afford to purchase the book, you can always request any book at your library. They are able to get the book from another library and even if they can't find the book in your county or state, they are able to get a book from the Library of Congress if need be. I've done it before, esp. when a book I was interested in was way over my budget.

Good luck,

02-15-09, 07:34 AM
I was diagnosed with ADD about 6 months ago, and Concerta has been absolutely amazing in helping my focus and attention. But I've had a few situations where I stressed out because I was under pressure (at first from my own expectations, then from worrying about the debt that my pre-diagnosis self has built up). What I discovered is that I have underlying OCPD symptoms which make it almost impossible to complete a task in a reasonable amount of time, and turned me into a workaholic because nothing I do will ever be good enough according to my own crazy standards.

It's the obsession with tiny details and the compulsion to change things which aren't really important. My mother has some OCPD symptoms, and she says that her grandmother had all of them and ruined her life with it. My dad had really self-destructive ADHD, but nobody knew about it then and they just thought he was an *******. My parents broke up before I was born, and my mother had to work two jobs, so I lived with my grandparents until I was 5. My mother says that my grandmother adored me, and can't think of any time when she was over-strict or controlling or critical or abusive in any way.

They say that OCPD is an Axis-2 disorder, meaning that it's not in your brain when you're born, but develops in response to your environment, relationships and experiences at an early age, especially (and coincidentally in my case) up to age 5. So as far as I know it's not inherited physically, but maybe can be inherited culturally if a child is brought up by an OCPD guardian and internalises the behaviour he sees.

But I also notice that a lot of OCPD symptoms have equal and opposite ADD symptoms, and I started to wonder if my young brain was trying to "rewire" itself to compensate for the ADD. When I took the Concerta, the balance seems to have tipped over and the perfections, obsessions and self-criticisms took over completely. There's not much material out there on OCPD, and I don't know if a lot of research is being done. But I'd be VERY curious to know how common it is to find ADD and OCPD in the same brain.

02-16-09, 10:51 PM
The latest research on ADHD in Adults (Russell Barkely, Kevin Murphy) found that 16% of adults with ADHD had OCPD as well. I'm not sure what the current thinking is on OCPD but our doctor believes it is usually present at birth and is a medical condition, not a character disorder.

08-30-09, 04:03 AM
I just stumbled across this thread, after self-diagnosing myself with OCPD (100% sure)

I think the add definitely has an impact on my OCPD. Especially now since I have been taking concerta, I get deeply hyper-focused in a task to the point where I lose track of my initial objective. I will re-write sentences over and over to make sure they are perfect. It sucks because the add stimulants really work for focus and motivation, however they do the oppossite for OCPD. I need to be doing something productive with every minute of my time. It gives me really bad anxiety.

I also have been diagnosed with GAD, which I now think is mostly due to my OCPD. Most of my anxiety comes when things are not going the way that I expected them too.

08-30-09, 05:08 PM

i have not been diagnosed with OCPD...however, in therapy my perfectionism and tendencies have been brought up. actually, i wasn't sure for a long time what was wrong with me b/c it was like i couldn't get anything done, and when i did something it would have to be done in a certain way. so then i just don't do it...

i find that the ADHD/OCD combo is really difficult to deal with. Like today, I should be getting organized, but I can't do a ****ty job of it, and I don't know where to start, so it is easier for me to just do nothing.

honest to god i drive myself crazy

09-14-09, 12:23 PM
A 'PD' is a character disorder. Character disorder is the old term for the PDs, in fact.

09-14-09, 05:12 PM
A 'PD' is a character disorder. Character disorder is the old term for the PDs, in fact.

Yes, I know that is what is generally meant by personality disorders. However, as science receives new information and understanding of the biological contributions to certain disorders, there may eventually be a reclassification of some of those disorders.

Just as a lot has changed from the original beliefs about ADHD when it was first called "Minimal Brain Dysfunction", research is constantly providing us with new perspectives and understanding. As you know, ADHD was once believed to only occur in boys and that it would disappear as one became an adolescent. We now know that simply isn't true.

Although I certainly can't predict what will eventually be discovered and what disorders may be reclassified, there are others besides myself who believe that some (OCPD and BPD, for instance) of the personality disorders are not truly character disorders any more than one would classify depression or bipolar disorder as a character disorder. I have seen where the proper medication and treatment, including therapy as needed, have enabled many to manage and control the symptoms of these two PD's. In addition, there are those who have developed the symptoms of a particular PD after a brain injury or illness.

I realize that at this point in time the DSM-IV reads the same and that is the current and accepted classification. In my opinion, there are a lot of misconceptions about some of the PD's that will one day be challenged and reconstructed as a result of comprehensive research and new diagnostic techniques involving the brain. I hope I will live to see that day.

12-06-09, 04:12 AM
I simply would like to inform you that there is a great support forum for those struggling with O.C.P.D.: (

We'd really love to see you there!