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  • OCD: Is It Considered Neurodivergent?

    Neurodivergence is a concept that has become more widely talked about over the past few years. 

    In the past, thinking differently from what was considered the normal way of thinking wasn’t accepted. In today’s world, there’s a clear understanding that people can think and feel differently. These differences can occur due to changes in the brain and how it works. 

    There are a lot of mental health disorders that are labeled as being neurodivergent. Let’s learn more about neurodivergence and if a disorder like OCD is considered neurodivergent. 

    What Is OCD?

    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that involves unwanted thoughts. These thoughts are accompanied by repetitive behaviors. Someone with OCD may experience obsessions or intrusive thoughts that can be anxiety-provoking. In order to try to get rid of the obsessions, someone will perform repetitive behaviors or compulsions as a short-term solution to their anxious thoughts. The symptoms of OCD can interfere with someone’s daily life and routine.

    What Is Neurodivergence?

    Neurodivergence is the term used to describe individuals who think differently from what is considered normal. Challenges with attention, learning, sensory processing, and social skills are common among individuals who are considered neurodivergent.

    As with anything in the world, neurodivergence comes with its own set of challenges and strengths. While someone who is neurodivergent may struggle in some areas, they may excel with unique strengths of their own, like being creative, extremely empathetic, or their ability to problem-solve. Mental health disorders that fall under neurodivergence include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and dyslexia.

    The Similarities

    OCD is an anxiety disorder, but some of the signs and symptoms can overlap with the signs and symptoms of someone who is neurodivergent. There will be similar behaviors, challenges, and experiences between the two. These are some of the most common similarities:

    • Intense focus on certain interests and tasks
    • Ritualistic or repetitive behaviors
    • Sensitive to certain senses
    • Thriving on a schedule or a routine

    The Differences

    The key differences between neurodivergence and OCD fall within the scope, symptoms, and treatment options.

    The Scope

    OCD is a very specific type of anxiety disorder that is related to someone having obsessions and compulsions. Neurodivergence can cover a wide range of conditions that involve different signs and symptoms.

    The Symptoms

    While both OCD and neurodivergence can impact someone’s daily life and routine, the symptoms between the two differ. OCD’s main symptoms relate to the unique obsessions and compulsions that one will have. Neurodivergence has a wide variety of symptoms depending on the condition.

    The Treatment

    The treatment for a neurodivergent person focuses on strategies to better utilize a person’s unique strengths and working with an individual to improve any challenges they’re facing. Treatment for OCD involves different forms of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure and response prevention (ERP), or medication.

    Is OCD Neurodivergent?

    It’s very common for someone who has OCD to be neurodivergent as well. Since neurodiversity is such a broad term, some individuals consider OCD to fall under the category of neurodivergence. No matter if you’re struggling with OCD, neurodivergence, or a combination of the two, help is available to you.

    Next Steps

    There are strengths as well as challenges that can come along with many conditions and disorders. Both OCD and neurodivergence have been shown to be very successful with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A therapist will be able to work with you to help you overcome the challenges you’re experiencing and help you work on using the strengths that you have to your advantage. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you feel unstuck again.