Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is one of the comorbid disorder to appear along with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

OCD is characterized by obsessions, compulsions, or both:

  • Obsessions: Recurrent, persistent thoughts that are unwanted and intrusive
  • Compulsions: Repetitive, often time-consuming behaviors that individuals feel compelled to perform in response to an obsessive thought

How OCD Symptoms Are Different From Autism Symptoms

People with ASD frequently have intensely repetitive thoughts and behaviors, much like those seen in persons with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). But people with OCD usually feel uncomfortable with their symptoms and would like to be rid of them, whereas people with ASD usually are not bothered by their obsessions, and in fact may embrace them. People with autism spectrum disorders also have a range of other social, language, and cognitive differences not seen in people with OCD.

Repetitive behaviors are a core symptom of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Those behaviors that bring comfort or enjoyment are considered restrictive and repetitive behaviors (RRBs), while compulsive thoughts and behaviors that cause anxiety are characterized as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). RRBs in those with ASD often include hand flapping, lining up items, or insistence on sameness, such as using the same cup every day or taking the same route to school every day. These behaviors and activities bring many individuals with ASD comfort and enjoyment, while OCD brings about considerable anxiety.


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