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ADHD in Girls

Does my ADHD daughter have OCD?

My 10-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with ADHD since grade 1, and has been taking Adderall since then with positive results, has recently developed some concerning behaviors which seem to me to be compulsions.

At some point in school this year she learned about illnesses and germs, and since then she has been washing her hands very frequently - to the point that they are chapped. She’s asked me about AIDS and how it’s transmitted. In addition, she’s started gathering saliva in her mouth (not swallowing regularly) then going to the sink and spitting it out. I am very observant and have caught on quickly to these behaviors and have discussed them with her, reassuring her that she can’t get ill just because she is not continually washing her hands, and that she must try to stop the spitting, but the behavior, though it’s slowed down a little, has continued.

Is there anything else I can do? I have discussed in a non-judgemental way with her whether she is happy or has anxieties and she always assures me that she is fine. She seems happy enough to me.

Any advice?


I do think people with ADHD can obsess about things, part and parcel with those automatic negative thoughts they can be prone to. I can actually see the wheels spinning in my daughter when she is getting on to an obsessive thought. If I let her go it will bother her all day and then meltdown. She is 9 so of course yours at 15 has a longer persistence. But redirection is the only thing that I’ve found to work. I know it’s not so simple with a teen but I wonder if there is a way you can redirect rather than keep talking about it which might actually keep her mind on it. I know for my husband this can be true too. If I talk too much about something he then cannot stop obsessing about it.

Posted by YellaRyan on Dec 18, 2013 at 10:16pm

Thank-you! Although, my daughter is 10 and not 15. You are probably right, not to talk about it too much, as i don’t want her to be overly embarrassed about it. Redirection is a good idea.

Posted by Lydia67 on Dec 19, 2013 at 7:50am

Talk with your daughter’s doctor about these new behaviors. They may recommend a medication change or talk therapy, but it’s important to get an expert opinion about this new development.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Dec 19, 2013 at 10:41pm

Oftentimes an ADHD diagnosis is comorbid
with mild Asperger’s.  Read David Lynch’s
book “Best Practices”.  My husband has both
and so does his mother, father, and sister.  Since
it is mild, it appears as if he is a clean freak,
overly organized, and obsessive.  His father washes
his hands a hundred times a day and is a successive
research doctor.  His sister is under the table
with the DustBuster vacuuming the floor before
the guests are done with dinner, all maladaptive,
compensating behaviors consistent with being a
mild Aspie, as well as having ADHD.  I hope
this helps.

Posted by Houston on Dec 21, 2013 at 9:06am

Successful not successive

Posted by Houston on Dec 21, 2013 at 9:07am

Well she is certainly not tidy. Her room is a mess! I hadn’t thought of the possibility of Asperger’s but as she has good social skills and is pretty outgoing I think this is unlikely.

I do think that these compulsions may be a way of getting rid of her extra energy, or allaying internal anxieties that go along with that restlessness.

Posted by Lydia67 on Dec 21, 2013 at 1:06pm

Just last week, the mention of Asperger’s was given for my daughter. She has only developed some OCD Type behaviors. She has pulled most of her eyelashes out and has started “picking” lint off sweaters and off the floor when she is playing. She is incredibly outgoing and never meets a stranger so needless to say this was a shock. I have just joined this group I hopes of finding answers. I feel if I am always redirecting lately. We have recently returned to counseling and I am hoping this will help. She has also lied about several behaviors as well.

Posted by Nichaj on Dec 29, 2013 at 7:30am

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