Related Disorders

Other disorders are similar to OCD but are not OCD. Some people may have both OCD and one or more of these. It is important to get the correct diagnosis as early as possible.

Related Disorder Name What makes this look like OCD? How does this differ from OCD?
Tic Disorders or Tourette Syndrome Both people with OCD and people with Tics/Tourette Syndrome:

  • Repeat physical behaviors. Examples are eye blinking, tapping or touching.
  • Vocal behavior repetition like clearing their throat.
People who have Tics or Tourette Syndrome:

  • Do these tics because they get a sense of discomfort or a need to feel “just right”.
  • Responds better to habit reversal and to various medicines than those with OCD.

People with OCD:

  • Do these repetitive behaviors in response to obsessions (thought s or images).
Trichotillomania (Compulsive Hair Pulling) People with Trichotillomania & those with OCD both:

  • Perform repetitive behaviors
  • Perform repetitive behaviors in response to feeling uncomfortable
People with Trichotillomania:

  • Obtain a good feeling from pulling out their body hair; some use it to relieve stress.
  • Responds better to habit reversal and to various medicines than those with OCD.

People with OCD:

  • Repeat behaviors to get away from bad feelings, like anxiety.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Those with BDD and those with OCD both do repetitive checking. People with BDD:

  • Their checking behaviors and obsessions focus only on their body or the way they look
  • They are very likely to seek out cosmetic surgery

People with OCD:

  • Don’t usually have behaviors or thoughts that focus on the way they look.
Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) People with OCD and those with OCPD both have problems:

  • Making excessive lists
  • Hoarding
  • Perfectionism
People with OCPD:

  • Have problems finishing tasks due to their preoccupation with perfectionism.
  • Don’t see their “symptoms”
    as a problem.

People with OCD:

  • Don’t always have perfectionism problems
  • Don’t like their OCD symptoms.
Asperger’s Disorder and Autism People with Autism or those with Asperger’s Disorder and people with OCD both may have:

  • “Stereotyped” behaviors such as following rigid routines
  • an “obsessive” interest of some sort
People with Autism or Asperger’s:

  • Usually have thoughts and behaviors focusing only on repeating things
  • Do not try to prevent their thoughts
  • Have severe social interaction problems

People with OCD:

  • Usually have thoughts and behaviors that focus on violent/sexual themes, contamination, checking, etc.
  • Try to make their bad thoughts stop happening
Impulse Control Disorders
(like gambling, sexual activity, excessive shopping)
People with Impulse Control Disorders and people with OCD both may:

  • Have strong urges to repeat certain behaviors
  • Have problems with attention
People who have Impulse Control Disorders:

  • Repeat behaviors as a way to increase a good feeling such as arousal or excitement.

People with OCD:

  • Repeat behaviors to get away from their bad feelings, such as anxiety.
Psychotic Disorders/
People with Psychotic Disorders/Schizophrenia and those with OCD may both have:

  • Bizarre or strange thoughts
  • Thoughts including violent, sexual, or religious themes
People with Psychotic Disorders/Schizophrenia:

  • Have delusions. Their thoughts are not reality based however; the person believes their thoughts are true.

People with OCD:

  • Usually know their obsessive thoughts do not make sense, even if they respond to them as if they’re “true.”
  • Can stay in touch with reality in all other parts of their life