Disorders Related to OCD
There are a variety of conditions that have obsessive compulsive disorder qualities that are quite similar to OCD such as PANDAS, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), hoarding disorder, trichotillomania, compulsive skin picking, hypochondria, and olfactory reference syndrome. Many of these disorders are treated primarily with cognitive behavioral therapy. Individuals with OCD may also have other mental health conditions such as depression, attention deficit disorder/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), anxiety, Asperger syndrome, eating disorders and Tourette syndrome (TS).
Hoarding disorder is defined as the acquisition of, and inability to discard, worthless items even though they appear (to others) to have no value. People with compulsive hoarding syndrome may have immense difficulty throwing anything away, from the oldest paper clip, to a used food container, to an out-of-date newspaper, for fear that they might need those items in the future. If they have any doubt at all as to the value of an object, no matter how trivial, they will keep it "just in case." Animal hoarding is when someone has more pets than they’re able to take care of and deny this inability. When an individual struggles with hoarding animals, their inability to provide nutrition, shelter and veterinary care may become prevalent through the animal.
PANDAS, also known as pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infection, usually occurs before puberty. PANDAS may occur when a child suddenly and dramatically has OCD or tic-related symptoms following a strep infection. The symptoms appear to happen extremely sudden and may cause the child to become obsessive, compulsive, edgy, moody, irritated or anxious.
Trichotillomania is a condition that causes an individual to pull out hair from their scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or any other part of their body. Hair is often pulled in an attempt to alleviate anxiety. It varies in severity and may cause bald patches.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body dysmorphic disorder is a body-image condition with persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one's appearance. Those struggling with BDD dislike area(s) of their body. In reality, the alleged defect may be a minor imperfection or even nonexistent. For the person with BDD, the flaw is significant and projecting, often causing severe emotional distress and difficulties in daily functioning. For more information see Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).
Skin picking disorder (excoriation disorder/SPD) causes those who suffer from it to continually rub, touch, scratch or pick at their skin. This may be done in an attempt to remove minute irregularities or imperfections. The action may leave a scar and can even cause tissue damage or worse. These actions may occur as an attempt to eliminate feelings of fear or anxiety. People may spend several hours picking at their hair or skin.
Olfactory Reference Syndrome
Individuals with olfactory reference syndrome (ORS) have the irrational fear or belief that they are emitting an offensive, foul or unpleasant body odor even though they do not. People with olfactory reference syndrome repeatedly do certain things, such as showering excessively, brushing their teeth, or smelling themselves, in response to this preoccupation. They may also think that others are sitting far away or that others behaviors, comments or actions are a a direct result of their imagined odor. This belief causes distress, embarrassment and shame and can significantly impair social relationships as well as one's ability to function professionally. Individuals with ORS may socially isolate themselves and develop social phobia.
More than appearance concerns: What is body dysmorphic disorder?
Sophie Schneider, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, gives insight into the disorder.