It’s a bird — it’s a plane — it’s autism — no, it’s OCD!

This article, entitled “Differentiating Between Asperger’s and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder,” goes into detail regarding a subject I myself obsessed over once. A few years ago, before I suspected having OCD, I found the Wikipedia article about Asperger’s syndrome and felt I identified with it a lot. Like people with AS, people with OCD find themselves engaging in repetitive activities and have obsessive thoughts and interests. However, AS is more similar to Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder in that people with AS have obsessive thoughts/rituals that are not anxiety-driven, and not considered an annoyance or interference, but rather a preferred way of living.

Apparently, males outnumber females in AS (and probably autism in general), but not OCD. Tourette’s and tic disorders are more frequently seen in men; it’s been hypothesized by some that the genetic predisposition for OCD and TS is a very similar mechanism, and simply manifests differently in men versus women; so in men we tend to see tics more often, in women we tend to see OCD.

From the article: “In summary, individuals with AD or OCD may evidence similar symptoms, including, shifting, incompleteness, anxiety, compulsions, and adherence to rituals. In general, individuals with AD are more socially impaired and demonstrate difficulty forming reciprocal relationships. In AD, individuals may have obsessive thoughts surrounding a restricted area of interest, but these thoughts do not likely cause a marked level of anxiety or distress as they do in OCD. Lastly, compulsive behavior in OCD is completed with the intent to minimize anxiety. In AD, individuals derive pleasure from engaging in these activities.”

5 thoughts on “It’s a bird — it’s a plane — it’s autism — no, it’s OCD!

  1. Matt Marinello says:

    Yeah I noticed a lot of similarities between high functioning Autism and OCPD… Not so much OCD. But a lot of times they have OCD. What made me realize the similarities and suspect genetic similarities was when I talked to a mother of a child with Asperger’s. She told me he had to follow written plans throughout the day and if something didn’t go as planned he’d flip. I noticed that I am like that and used to have a severe OCPD planning problem at one time. Since I already knew that the gene isolated in OCPD was the dopamine receptor gene DRD3 I figured that one of the genes for Asperger’s was the same gene for some reason. Well I looked it up and found that the same DRD3 gene is believed to be expressed in Asperger’s so I guess I share a gene with Asperger’s sufferers. I don’t know if you do though…. You might. But the DRD3 gene is more of a male gene 80% chance if you are male and have that gene that you’ll have OCPD. You probably do share Asperger’s genes if you have OCPD. I have a lot of other similarities with Asperger’s. People with Asperger’s can be very smart, and people on the Autistic spectrum sometimes are born good at specific skills. I was born able to draw realistic pictures of what I look at and still can though I never have to practice. I was five in Canada and could draw a real good Green Santa (the canadian santa) with color pencils. I could draw back then just as good as I can now, because I never practiced just did it every once in a while for the helluva it. It’s like the English language with me I could stop speaking for 10 years but not forget anything. That’s how it is with drawing. But just drawing what I see. I suck at drawing from memory (which now that I think of it is more of autistic ability) and drawing from my imagination. I want to work on those abilities though.

    • willitbeok says:

      Yep. I rarely have a written plan for the day, but I always have a mental picture in my head of how the day is going to go, and if it changes — even in a way that I would prefer — that bothers me because it disrupts that sense of predictability and order. I feel very unstable and insecure when that happens. Especially for social situations, I need to be prepared. That’s very interesting about AS and OCD possibly sharing a gene. I don’t know if I technically have OCPD or not. That’s cool about your drawing skills! I’ve never been good at drawing but I kind of know what you mean, because I have skills like that with other things. I’m not like, EXCEPTIONALLY good at anything though. And I don’t know about drawing, but I’m bad at speaking/writing from imagination and sometimes memory. I have trouble telling stories in the right order and things like that. I would ask my psychologist about the possibly of me having OCPD and maybe even AS but I think she thinks I’m a little too obsessed about what’s “wrong” with me and not obsessed enough about what I should DO about it. 🙂

      • Matt Marinello says:

        Well I know for a fact you definitely have OCD, and worrying about having autism can be an OCD doubt worry thing. The checking of stuff can be OCPD though some symptoms of OCD and OCPD overlap. People with OCPD check stuff they write, check homework, and everything multiple times. They are perfectionists. If you are rigid that’s a good sign you have OCPD. I’m definitely rigid. I know I don’t have autism. How do I know? Well I have empathy and I can get jokes. If you have empathy and can get jokes than you don’t have autism. That’s what the mother said when I was worried I might have autism. I think you have OCPD, because the way you wrote when you talked about how your memory can go bad when you doubt your memory. You sounded very methodical which is OCPD not OCD. If you have OCD there is 34% chance you’ll have OCPD, around a 10% chance you’ll have social anxiety(which is the same for the normal population so I don’t think there is a link but then again I do think there is a link if you think about it), like a 30% for bipolar, and a 50% chance you have clinical depression because of the OCD symptoms can be depressing.

      • Matt Marinello says:

        I have a problem nowadays with remembering things in order. If someone tells me a sequence of objects to remember I can remember them all just not in order. It’s probably something neurological or something I have no idea. I used to be able to remember things in order really well.

  2. willitbeok says:

    Yeah that’s what I was thinking; that worrying about autism might just be a doubt/worry thing. I do have social difficulties and trouble with eye contact and verbal communication, but it’s hard to tell exactly why — if it’s just from lack of practice (I was home-schooled), or what. I guess I should talk to my psychologist more about that but it’s like I have so many problems it’s hard to get through them all, you know? 😛 What you said about people with OCPD checking stuff they write, homework, everything multiple times… well… I feel like that’s a better description of me than OCD in some ways because at least, now as an adult, I don’t have many ritualistic things that I go through per se. There are some (like always checking the front door 4 times, in a specific way, to make sure it’s locked) but there’s a lot of general checking and perfectionism so I might actually have OCPD too. Or I might just have a few traits but not enough for a diagnosis.

    It’s interesting that you have trouble remembering things in order too. I can’t tell exactly why I am that way. I was looking back at some of my home-schooling tests and I did poorly on “Story Recall” on one of them. Like very poorly — kindergarten or first grade level when I was in 6th or 7th grade. I think one thing that makes stories hard for me to remember are the people and the dialogue — I have a much better memory for technical things or remembering how things work, although even then I may have trouble communicating it verbally. But it’s weird that I had scored really high on reading and writing, but poor on “story recall.”

    I remember my mom did the same thing — she seemed incapable of telling a joke in the proper order so the punchline made sense. My dad on the other hand, is great at talking and telling stories. 🙂

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