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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD ) v Autism

There are many behaviours deemed obsessive and ritualistic that are traits of both OCD and Autism. As more and more people are being diagnosed with a combination of these conditions, it's important to understand their effects individually.

One of the crucial differences between Autism and OCD is the anxiety and their attachment to the behaviour. Typically someone with Autism will enjoy the repetitive behaviours and rituals helping them to organise and understand the world better. In comparison, someone with OCD may be driven by overwhelming urges connected to unwanted feelings, possibly accompanied by intrusive thoughts.

Although both OCD and Autism are classified as neurological disorders, sharing similar traits and characteristics, there are some key differences to be aware of. In Autism, there may be some impairment in their communication, language or social skills. A person with Autism is more likely to become distressed if their routines are interrupted, or they are unable to follow them strictly. A person with OCD will likely experience social and relationship difficulties due to the constant need to perform their rituals.

It is not uncommon for someone to be given a diagnosis of both OCD and Autism or Asperger Syndrome, with the main difference being the level of anxiety they experience with their behaviours. Typically a person with OCD will feel high levels of anxiety, but their ritualistic behaviour will reduce the feelings. In contrast, a person on the Autistic spectrum may not have high anxiety levels but may get distressed if their routines are uninterrupted.

It is worth noting that a person with OCD does not usually enjoy the routine attached to the compulsion to complete these behaviours. They will likely feel a deep sense of urgency compelling them, or something terrible will happen. A person with Autism is likely to get pleasure and enjoyment from being able to fulfil their behaviours as it is a necessity within their personal world.

If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the issues in this post i offer a free initial consultation to discuss your situation. Please use the link below to book yours.

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