I had been diagnosed with OCD years before my autism diagnosis but it remains unclear which symptoms are OCD and which are autism. During an intense group of sessions at a specialist centre for OCD I found myself asking the psychologist if I have to count a certain amount of times because of my OCD or autism. He did not know and always asked me what I thought.
Likewise what does it mean when I have to keep checking to see if I have closed a door or checked to see if I have put a letter in the envelop. I have to wash my hands if I have touched an object that reminds me of something I don’t like. Sometimes I have to keep touching a surface such as a wall or a table with both hands in a symmetrical way over and over again until it feels right.
The list goes on…
I am someone that needs to know why. I always want it spelt out clearly by an expert. But It turns out that the experts didn’t know. I came away feeling very frustrated and with more questions than answers. I needed to know for sure which symptoms were OCD and which were autism.
In my work as a tutor to autistic people, I would say that practically everyone of my students have symptoms that look a lot like OCD but according to their notes none of them have it. Their OCD type behaviour has been classed purely as autistic traits.
So I am confused. Do most autistic people have a degree of OCD. I realise that OCD is an anxiety disorder and people with autism are prone to heightened states of anxiety which often make these OCD type symptoms worse. Such as repeating tasks, speech, touching and counting. I know this is also the case with me.
It would seem to me that someone could have either of these conditions separately, but in my experience many autistic people also have a degree of OCD and anxiety.
I will be writing a more in depth post on autism and OCD in the near future.
Thanks for reading.