ADHD and perfectionism

adhd and perfectionism

When we think of someone with ADHD, the stereotype that comes to mind is someone that races through tasks, ignores details and rarely gives much thought to the outcome, however, perfectionism is surprisingly, strongly linked to ADHD. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) “Perfectionism is the tendency to demand of others or oneself, an extremely high or even flawless level of performance – above and beyond what is required by the situation.” 

ADHD and feeling stuck

Many people with ADHD who experience perfectionism report feeling stuck in ways that make it more difficult to complete a task in a reasonable amount of time, and feeling anxious over small details. The need for perfectionism can make a person feel extremely anxious over completing the smallest of tasks, often stemming from misunderstanding or incorrectly estimating the demands of a task or situation, not understanding what tasks are of importance, and not possessing the abilities or resources to help them cope with challenges.

Coping with perfectionism and ADHD at school and work

Trying to cope with your ADHD in daily life can be extremely challenging and when it comes to perfectionism, it is easy to feel inadequate or like a failure. Children at school can find that they become hyper-focused, spending an inordinate amount of time on projects or assignments to make sure they come out just right and if this isn’t the case, they may dwell on what they should have done differently. Also, for adults at work, it can be very difficult to manage the effects of perfectionism, whether it be deciding the best way to format a report or display new products on shelves. These traits can take away from actually creating the report and display, the most important part of the job itself.

Signs and types of perfectionism and ADHD to help with diagnosis

There are many types of perfectionism within ADHD and many signs to look out for if you think that you may fall into this category. Researchers have identified three main types of perfectionism, these are:

      Self-oriented perfectionism: Setting unrealistic and incoherently high standards for yourself to adhere to, which can also host several mental health diagnoses such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

      Socially prescribed perfectionism: Directly connected to social anxiety, this type of perfectionism is a belief that others are judging and criticising you. You may feel the need to be perfect to fit in and feel the need to obtain constant approval and acceptance from those around you.

      Other-oriented perfectionism: This type of perfectionism is associated with imposing unrealistically high standards on others, along with criticism and judgement, often without empathy. This may also result in difficulties maintaining relationships in all forms.

How Sanctum, a specialist ADHD clinic, can help with an ADHD assessment and diagnosis

Being able to keep on top of tasks and assignments at work and school can make you feel not good enough or as though you are failing, but an assessment and possible diagnosis from an ADHD psychiatrist can be the first step into letting go of that pressure. This is easier said than done but a specialist ADHD clinic can help lead you down the right path. 

Sanctum is a provider of bespoke treatment for neurodevelopmental conditions in both adults and children, such as ADHD. We offer a very comprehensive pathway to the assessment and treatment of each client on a one-to-one basis and our diagnostic team all have specialist experience in assessing and supporting individuals with ADHD. 

 If you would like to speak to Sanctum about an ADHD assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan, you can get in touch with us anytime here.

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