So, as I’m sitting at my grandparents house waiting to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday and go to a Bruno Mars concert (he is my abnormal obsession, which I will explain later), triggered my curiosity as to why those on the spectrum have abnormal obsessions.
We all have to admit, there is always that one or two things that we have an obsession about.
Anyone female who grew up in the 80s and 90s grew up with boy band obsessions. I am definitely in that catagory.
A lot of people, myself included, grew up and still continue to have obsessions with sports.
Some have food obsessions. Others have obsessions with certain celebrities.
Anyway, you get my point.
Humans are prone to have obsessions with things. Its part of human nature.
But does having an obsession put you in the OCD catagory?
Does that put you in the spectrum?
Or are there specific qualifications that put you into those categories and smaller obsessions aren’t a big deal?
These are things I can try to answer.
The Autism Blog Seattle’s Children breaks down the difference between OCD and Autism obsessive behavior and how to differentiate between the two.
It will also help me understand how my OCD is different than the OCD diagnosis and how both differentiate between anyone else who has obsessions that aren’t diagnosed in either of these catagories.
OCD, according to Autism Blog Seattle’s Children, is an anxiety disorder caused by a) persistent and distressing thoughts and b) behaviors used to cope with these behaviors.
People with OCD are “compelled” to perform these behaviors and feel they help them not have bad things happen to them.
Examples are worrying about germs, worrying about harm coming to self and others, distinguishing right from wrong (guily about morals) and religiosity.
Ways these people deal with these behaviors are ritualized handwashing, checking, ordering and/or rearranging, apologizing, and mental rituals (such as counting or praying.)
The thing I never realized until reading this article is that OCD is like autism in the sense that more boys are diagnosed than girls. It doesn’t go into detail, which I wish it did, but I personally believe that in some ways it could be the way that boys show things more than girls do. But I’m very inclined to believe that based off of the research done in autism.
This is where I get to tell you what differences OCD has compared to autism.
Autism, as you all have learned, is a neurological disorder that causes the neurons in a person affected to flare up and die off. The amount that do this depends on how severe a person will end up.
Like OCD, and many other mental illnesses and disabilities, autism has different levels of severity.
But the one big difference between autism and OCD is the levels of obsessions and types of obsessions that a person has.
There are some similarities between the two, like arranging, touching/tapping, ordering, and counting.
But the biggest difference is that people on the spectrum don’t think about their rituals and end up becoming more of an urge to do them.
People with autism may appear to have limited insight as to why these rituals happen, whereas those with OCD know exactly what they are doing and why they do it.
Not to say that those with autism don’t know. Its more of a subconscious ritual and when someone points it out, they don’t fully realize what they are doing and can’t come up with a reasons other than its just something I do or I don’t know.
In a lot of ways, those with autism use these rituals to satisfy other needs. Examples include, modifying sensory needs, gaining reinforcement from the environment, or preserving “sameness” in their daily lives.
Those with OCD, like I mentioned earlier, use their rituals to lessen their fears of anxiety, and keeping bad things from happening.
Is it possible for people with autism to also have OCD? According to this article, yes.
People on the spectrum have a higher rate of anxiety than most humans. One study was done where it was shown that 17% of those with autism also had some level of OCD.
Those with autism that also had OCD tended to lean more towards the OCD end of things when performing their rituals.
When I say that, I’m talking about using their rituals to find ways to lessen their anxiety in a way that is anxiety-driven, like all OCD cases.
To those who read this and feel like you or your child could be one or both of these, please check with a health care professional to get the proper teating done.
As for me, I feel like I have both.
The autism side of my rituals is me doing some form of exercise, mainly jogging, in a subconscious obsesdive way. I know I do it, a lot of times I forget that I am, but as far as to why, I couldn’t tell you.
As far as my Bruno Mars obsession, its an OCD obsession. I am very much aware of my ritual with him. I can’t go one day without listening to his music. He brings me joy in my life when my favorite band, Shinedown, isn’t able too.
Its an obsession that started when i saw him live for the first time 3 years ago. Ever since, its been my way or relieve anxiety. His music brings me to a place that makes me happier. Makes me feel like life isn’t as bad as media proteays it to be.
If any of you have stories about this topic, please feel free to share. I would love to hear your stories!