In Autism, there may be some impairment in language, communication, or social skills. A person with Autism will likely become incredibly upset if their routines are interrupted or not followed strictly. Although with OCD, social situations and relationships may become affected due to the constant need to perform rituals, there will be no impairment present. It is common for someone to be diagnosed with both OCD and Autism or Asperger Syndrome. The main difference is the level of anxiety the person experiences with their behaviours. Someone with OCD feels high levels of anxiety, and the ritualistic behaviour reduces those feelings.
In contrast, some people on the Autistic spectrum may get upset or distressed when routines are uninterrupted, but the levels of anxiety are not so chronic. Furthermore, a person with OCD doesn’t enjoy their routine behaviours and compulsions but feels an overriding sense of urgency to perform them if something terrible happens. With Autism, a routine can be a necessity within their world, and the person is likely to enjoy being able to fulfil their routine behaviours.
What causes the development of Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder has no single known cause to date. Autism is a very complex disorder, as well as varying greatly between person to person. For these reasons, both genetics and the environment may play a role.
Several different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. Autism is commonly associated with a genetic disorder, such as Fragile X Syndrome, or Rett syndrome. For other children, changes in their genetic make-up may increase the risk of Autism. Other genes may affect brain development and the way that brain cells communicate. This knowledge could be valuable concerning the onset of Autism, as well as the severity of symptoms. Also, changes in genes appear to be inherited, while others occur spontaneously.
Researchers are currently exploring areas that include viral infections, medications, complications during pregnancy, or air pollutants as to how they may play a role in triggering the onset of Autism.
How common is Autism?
Autism affects around 1 in every 100 people, meaning that over 700,000 people are currently diagnosed with Autism in the UK alone. Autism is a lifelong condition, contrary to the myth that children grow out of it as they become adults.
How can our program help?
We have worked with many children and adults alike that have both OCD and are also on the Autistic Spectrum. In our experience, we have found that by identifying the key differences between the two; this offers clients some much needed clarity as to what
can be categorised as OCD compared to Autism. This information alone can often bring a sense of freedom and hope that life can be full of joy and happiness again.
While helping the person to overcome the obsessive- compulsive disorder, we teach skills where individuals will be able to start identifying the critical differences between OCD and Autism, and how to change the relationship with intrusive thoughts and feelings effectively. As our treatment is holistic, we’ll look at many other factors that also influence OCD and Autism, including anxiety management, education in relation to symptoms of both OCD and Autism as well as harnessing skills in order to challenge some of the more unhealthy and counter-productive ritualistic behaviour.
More specifically all of our programs include Psychoeducation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) and talking therapy all of which help the person in reducing and overcoming their OCD. Although our programs are by no means a treatment for Autism alone, many of the skills that we teach can have a dramatic impact on the reduction of OCD, leading to a much more fulfilling life for the person with Autism.