Do Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Asperger's disorder (AS) co-exist?
Apr 14, 2010 | Author: Bio Behavioral Institute
Asperger’s disorder (AS) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are both neurological disorders characterized by obsessive and repetitive behaviors, however many significant differences are observed. AS, one of five pervasive developmental disorders, involves impairments in language, communication and social skills. Often, individuals diagnosed with AS also participate in obsessive and repetitive behaviors, upset easily if routines are not followed strictly, or complex rituals are interrupted. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) stems from anxiety and is characterized by recurring, obsessive thoughts, or compulsive actions. Obsessive thoughts repeatedly enter the mind and compulsions or rituals are behaviors which are repeated over and over again to prevent fear and discomfort. Unlike AS individuals, those with OCD, may be effected socially due to their need to perform their rituals, however the significant impact on communication, social reciprocity, and interpersonal relationships, is not observed to the same degree. A person can be diagnosed with both Asperger Syndrome and OCD. In fact, it is common for a person with AS or autism to also have an additional neurological or behavioral disorder. One way to recognize the difference between the obsessive and stimming behavior of Aspergers versus OCD behavior is to figure out whether the behavior is driven by anxiety. Szatmari et al (1989) studied a group of 24 children. He discovered that 8% of the children with Asperger syndrome and 10% of the children with high-functioning autism were diagnosed with OCD. Some examples of specific similarities and differences noted are listed below:
- Both exhibit “stereotyped” or repetitive behaviors. Examples of these behaviors include: following rigid routines, inflexibility, self-stimulatory behaviors, etc..
- Often display “obsessive” behaviors or interests in specific things
- Focus on unusual objects or activities for extended periods of time.
- Increased anxiety when a routine or ritual is interrupted. This interruption may make other daily activities difficult to participate in.
- Participation in this routine or ritual aids in regulation of behavior.
Asperger’s Disorder (AS)