Disorders That May Co-exist with OCD
When two diagnoses occur in the same individual, they’re referred to as “comorbid” disorders. According to the most recent, large-scale community study of mental health in adults across the United States, 90% of the adults who reported OCD at some point in their lives also had at least one other comorbid condition, including anxiety, mood, impulse control (AD/HD, oppositional-defiant), and substance use disorders. A trained mental health professional can diagnose and provide appropriate treatment for these conditions as well as OCD.
Here are some of the disorders that are frequently comorbid with OCD:
ANXIETY DISORDERS. OCD is classified as an anxiety disorder. Other anxiety disorders include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder (panic attacks), Social Anxiety Disorders and specific phobias such as fear of snakes or heights. All of these disorders include symptoms such as excessive worrying and fear. But because each disorder is different, symptoms can be quite varied. (Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America)
MOOD DISORDERS: MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER AND BIPOLAR DISORDER. Symptoms of depression may include a persistent, sad, empty or hopeless mood, loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities (such as sports, hobbies, or sex), decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, insomnia or oversleeping, irritability, weight gain or loss, and thoughts of death or suicide. Depression is more intense than a “bad mood” and lasts over two weeks. Bipolar disorder is marked by extreme changes in mood, thought, energy and behavior. (Source: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)
ATTENTION-DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (AD/HD). There are three types of AD/HD: (1) predominantly inattentive type; (2) predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type; and (3) combined type. AD/HD can occur in both children and adults. (Source: Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
EATING DISORDERS. Anorexia nervosa (self-starvation and excessive weight loss), bulimia (binge eating with compensatory behavior such as self-induced vomiting), and binge eating (recurrent overeating without compensatory behavior) are disorders that involve serious disturbances in eating behaviors. Approximately 40% of people with eating disorders also have OCD. (Source: National Eating Disorders Association)
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (ASDs). People with ASDs have difficulties with communication, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. Individuals with Asperger’s syndrome (the mildest and highest-functioning form of ASDs) have obsessive areas of interest, but these bring them pleasure, unlike OCD obsessions, which produce distress. (Source: National Institutes of Mental Health)
Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders
A number of comorbid disorders share many similarities with OCD and are referred to as Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders. These conditions should also be treated by a qualified mental health therapist. They include:
TOURETTE SYNDROME (TS) OR TIC DISORDERS. Tics are sudden, rapid, involuntary and recurring motor movements (such as blinking, shrugging shoulders) or vocalizations (such as sniffing or humming). TS involves both motor and vocal tics for more than a year. Symptoms occur prior to 18 years of age. (Source: Tourette Syndrome Association of America)
BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER. People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) have a preoccupation with their appearance – specifically an imagined or exaggerated defect in their appearance. They may think of themselves as ugly and are often obsessed with a perceived flaw, such as a facial feature. They have difficulty controlling negative thoughts about how they look, even when others believe the person looks fine. (Source: Mayo Clinic).
TRICHOTILLOMANIA, SKIN-PICKING and NAIL BITING. Compulsive hair-pulling (“Trich”), skin-picking, and nail biting are considered body-focused repetitive behaviors. Signs of these conditions (respectively) include noticeable hair loss as a result of pulling hair out by the roots; noticeable (or hidden) scars, sores or scabs; and nails that are bitten so they are uneven and no nail extension is present. (Source: Trichotillomania Learning Center).