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Intro to OCD. Facts& Statistics. OCD Aspects. MisUnderstandings. OCSD. Related Disorders.


   Body Dysmorphic Disorder/BDD.
   Olfactory Reference Syndrome/ORS.
   Habit Disorders.
   Impulse Control Disorders.:        Trichotillomania/Trich.
   Tourette Syndrome/T.S.
   Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder/OCPD.
   Schizophrenia, delusional disorders, and other psychotic conditions.


Finding what is and what isn't part of the OCD may not always be what you want to spend your time doing, but sometimes certain treatments or medications will help with the OCD but not for possible underlying problems which may make it harder to treat the OCD.
If you also suffer from ADHD or Clinical Depression some extra steps will have to be made to tackle them along side of the OCD. Certain conditions run parallel to one another and can make it harder to treat the OCD. A Mental Health Professional will help to distinguish what you are dealing with most and how different problems may be treated simultaneously or consecutively.

Depression is a good example of this, not knowing whether the OCD triggers the Depression or vice versa. Both will have to be taken seriously in order to come to a solution. In most cases, SSRI's (medications prescribed for treating OCD) will also help to treat depression, but this is not the case for all of them. You only have to have gone through a depression once to know it's something that can ruin any progress you may have made with your OCD.

The discussed disorders further down this page will have a short explanation and some useful links.
If they are a OCSD, this will be mentioned.

Table with OCD- related disorders and their different names and abbreviations, if any.

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What Depression is and how it relates to OCD.
  • Depression is 1 of the most common Mental Illnesses, almost 12 million people have this at 1 point in their lives.
  • "The causes of depression are best considered as an interplay of biological (eg. genetics), psychological (personality and cognitive style) and social/environmental (distressing life events or chronic stressors) factors. " (*)
  • Depression and OCD will often be found together, especially with adults.
  • Less common is it for young children and adolescents to have both.
  • Finding out whether the Depression is causing the OCD to get worse or for the OCD to cause the depression to worsen is a question which is on many sufferer's mind.
    Maybe it's not all that important to figure out, since they might be equally influencing each other.
    But the continuous stress a person endures due to her/his OCD might trigger Depression, which in turn may worsen the symptoms of the OCD. Although for some that have OCD, the depression may actually cause them to be so down they will obsess less about wanting to perform their rituals to perfection, they just don't care enough to or lack the energy.
  • Treating depression involves altering the Brain chemistry. Most medications prescribed to treat OCD will tackle both depression and OCD, at correct dosages of course.
    A smaller dosage is used for treating depression alone and will have to be increased to treat the OCD as well.
  • Approximately 85% of the patients respond to treatment. But only 10% to 15% of the patients suffering from Major Depression are treated adequately.

Participate in a POLL: OCD related Depression.
QUESTION: Do you suffer from depression due to your OCD?
Participate in a POLL: OCD vs. Depression.
QUESTION: OCD causes Depression/Depression makes OCD worse?

The Difference.
  • When both disorders are found independently they do not seem to have any touching grounds.
    Meaning that not all who have OCD are feeling sad or without pleasure and those who are depressed don't often seem to have the intrusive thoughts or rituals seen with OCD.

Useful links concerning Depression.:

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder/BDD. ( Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorder.).

What BDD is and how it relates to OCD.
  • Distress of Imagined Ugliness.
  • Areas of perceived defect are: Body Odor/2.5%, Sexual Body Parts/5.1%, Skin/10.2%, Arms/Legs/12.8%, General Body/15.4% and Head/Face/54%.
  • Preoccupation with imagined defect in appearance or the clearly exaggerated worrying about a very small "defect".
  • Much like with OCD, the person engages in Compulsive Rituals.
  • May go as far as to involve surgical procedures to "correct" the defect.
  • This disorder is surrounded by many of it's own misunderstandings such as assuming people suffering from BDD are simply being vain.
    The person suffering from it will get "obsessed" by certain body- parts. We are not talking about not being pleased about the size or shape of your nose or thighs, these people will find themselves repulsive and intensely ugly. They seem unable to objectively look at themselves and will ask for comfort from others which will not help, much like happens with OCD. Like with Eating Disorders like Anorexia Nervosa, will you see that the general public sees these persons as being vain. But both these problems are not about superficiality, these are truly devastating disorders.
  • BDD and OCD react to the same treatment, being some type of Behavior Therapy.
  • A person is only diagnosed if it causes much distress and the person spends at least 1 hour a day obsessing about her/his perceived flaw.

Useful links concerning BDD.:

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Olfactory Reference Syndrome/ORS.

What ORS is and how it relates to OCD.
  • ORS is the excessive and irrational fear that 1 is emitting a foul or unpleasant odor. Although this may sound innocent enough, this condition may lead to severe problems within the person's social life.
  • This disorder is not yet included in the DSM_IV as a separate Diagnostic Criteria.
  • ORS is considered by many to be a sub- type of BDD, but also shares many features with OCD.
  • The best way of treating ORS is primarily by using CBT and more specifically ERP.

The Difference.
  • They exist independently from each other.

Useful links concerning .:
  • No Links available yet.

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Habit Disorders.
  • These are disorders that include Nail Biting and Skin Picking.
  • Disorders that are found regularly amongst people that have OCD.

More about Compulsive Skin Picking./CSP. & Nail Biting.

What CPS and Nail Biting are and how they relate to OCD.
  • Skin Picking is also called Pathological Skin Picking or Dermatillomania.
  • These disorders cause true distress. With Nail Biting will you see how nails will be bitten at continuously resulting in bleeding and sore fingers, at times even infected.
    Those that pick their skin, will have mostly their faces but also bodies, covered with sores and scabs. The most insignificant flaw in the skin such as a pimple or blemish will be opened, picked at or squeezed, this by the use of their fingers or things such as tweezers, needles and so on.........
  • The visual results of their behavior cause much shame and will make them cover up their hands and face, this embarrassment will go to the point of staying indoors to prevent being seen when they look at their worst.
  • The actions are either done automatically or to fulfill some need. These actions, in despite of what the results may be, do procure some satisfaction or relaxation.
  • The best treatment is Behavioral Therapy combined with medication which are the same anti- depressants ( SSRI's.) used for treating OCD and Trich.
  • Often Trich, CSP and Nail Biting co- exist.

Useful links concerning Compulsive Skin Picking & Nail Biting.:
  • Skin Picking.:The story of a sufferer.
  • AboutFace.
  • SKIN PICKING AND NAIL BITING: RELATED HABITS by Frederick Penzel, Ph.D."Although this newsletter has always been limited to discussing matters related to trich, I would like to introduce a slightly different but related topic. It may come as no surprise that there are other types of problem behaviors quite similar to trich in a number of ways. I am referring specifically to compulsive skin picking and nail biting (also known as onychophagia). These may not sound serious, but neither does hair pulling to some people. Since I have met quite a number of people who have one of these problems in addition to trich, I now routinely screen for them."

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Impulse Control Disorders/ICD. ( Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorder.).

What ICD is.
  • These are disorders where the person acts upon an impulse, drive or temptation that is potentially harmful to either themselves or others, but which they can't resist.
  • The behavior is usually preceded by the building up of anxiety or arousal, once the impulse is acted upon, pleasure, gratification or relief are perceived.
  • The different types are: Compulsive Buying (Shopping.), Pathological Gambling, Kleptomania, Trichotillomania, Intermittent Explosive Behavior, Pyromania and Sexual Compulsions.

Useful links concerning Impulse Control Disorder.:

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More about Trichotillomania./Trich./TTN. ( Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorder.).

What Trich is and how it relates to OCD.
  • This disorder causes much secretiveness and this will or may account for the low percentage of the reported cases. But as many as 1 to 2% of college students have had Trich at 1 time.
  • A person will pull out hers/his hair, hair from any part of the body may be targeted out but scalp, eyelashes and eyebrows are most common. This behavior results in noticeable hair loss and will cause much distress and shame to the person.
  • Just before pulling out the hair or when attempting to inhibit the desire, they will feel an increasing subjective sense of tension. Initially this action will bring relief, gratifications or pleasure, until they fully realize what the effects are.
  • For some, this is an action they seem almost unaware off until they "wake up" from that state in which they pull out their hair.
    People have stated that after a phone call they would have no eyelashes left.....
  • The most efficient treatment has been found to be Cognitive- Behavioral Therapy in combination with medication. Clomipramine is commonly prescribed for treating Trich.
  • As you can see are there many similarities between Trich and CSP and Nail Biting, the shame, the 2 ways on which the behavior is based ( Automatic or Pleasure/Relief.) and the way they are treated.

Useful links concerning Trich.:

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Tourette Syndrome./TS. ( Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorder.).

What Tourette's is and how it relates to OCD.
  • This falls under the category of Tic- Disorder and like other motor and vocal tic disorders resembles OCD.
    Tics can be involuntary motor behaviors ( Facial grimacing, twitching, yawning and head jerks.) or involuntary vocal behaviors ( Snorting, high sounds, grunts and words.....) that will often be triggered by feelings of discomfort.
    The more complex tics, like touching or tapping tics, may closely resemble compulsions.
  • About 1/3 of people with TS have Coprolalia, which involves the uttering of obscenities.
  • When either OCD or Tics begin during childhood they will/are more likely to occur together later on in life.
  • In OCD- clinics, about 1/3 of patients have Tics or Tourette. While there is inconclusive evidence of there being an OCD- subtype that is linked to Tourette, some investigators have found that the "Just Right" or "Just So" feeling of OCD is more prevalent in TS/OCD or TS then OCD- only patients.

The Difference.
  • A difference between both conditions is that the neurotransmitter implicated in the tics of Tourette is Dopamine and in OCD this is Serotonin. This is why patients that have both TS and OCD will most likely be prescribed 2 different medications by their doctor since there is none available that will tackle both neurotransmitter systems in the desired directions.

Useful links concerning Tourette's.:

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Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder/OCPD.

What is OCPD and how it relates to OCD.
  • This is a Personality Disorder.
  • Although some similarities, even just by name, OCPD is not directly linked to having OCD.
  • A small number of those suffering from OCD also have the collection of Personality Traits that make up OCPD.
  • OCPD is characterized by the person being really rigid, inflexible, seeking perfection, a preoccupation with rules, schedules and list and an excessive devotion with work. Although they might actually be successful in their job, they tend to not find pleasure in this.
    The symptoms may cause extreme distress and interfere with the person's occupational and social functioning.

The Difference.
  • Most of this behavior, although found somewhat within OCD too, is not backed up by rituals or obsessions and is rather a personality pattern based upon the above- mentioned characteristics. Those that have both disorders may see a favorable change in their personality once their OCD is successfully treated.

Useful links concerning OCP.:

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Schizophrenia, delusional disorders, and other psychotic conditions. The Difference.
  • Although as a bystander it may seem as if the person that has OCD is having delusional idea's about what their actions may prevent, people with OCD continue to be aware of what is real and what is not.
    That's the biggest difference between both disorders.
    Since people that have a psychotic condition will feel as if an outsider has placed these thoughts inside their head. They can't recognize their fears and thoughts as being their own.

Useful links concerning Schizophrenia, delusional disorders, and other psychotic conditions.:

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