Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. It causes a person to have intrusive, distressing thoughts, which they manage using compulsive behaviors. For example, a person, who fixates on illness risks, may compulsively wash their hands.

Several conditions are closely related to OCD or a unique manifestation of the condition. For example, people with body dysmorphia have intrusive thoughts about their appearance and may use body modifications, makeup, or surgery to manage those thoughts.

People with OCD may have a higher risk of other conditions. It is important to treat all of a person’s medical conditions, not just those with the most apparent or distressing symptoms.

Read on to learn more about disorders related to OCD.

person washing their handsShare on Pinterest
Maria Korneeva/Getty Images

Some disorders related to OCD include:

OCD may manifest very differently in different people. It is a myth, for example, that all people with OCD are meticulous or very clean.

Instead, it is important to examine a person’s symptoms to determine which condition or conditions best describe them.

What is OCD?

OCD is a chronic mental health condition. It usually appears when a person is a teenager. People with OCD experience intense, distressing, intrusive thoughts. For example, they might obsessively fear becoming ill or worry about a loved one dying.

To relieve these obsessive thoughts, a person engages in compulsive behavior, such as handwashing or counting things. Intellectually, a person usually knows these behaviors will not prevent the obsessive thoughts, but they may temporarily stop them.

Learn more about OCD.

Hoarding disorder causes a person to have great difficulty parting with their possessions and may also cause them to compulsively acquire new possessions. A hallmark of this disorder is when a person cannot possibly use or enjoy all the items they have. For instance, a person may have thousands of dresses for events they would never attend.

Hoarding is distinct from collecting in that collectors focus on a single or a select few items. Hoarders do not use the items they purchase and focus more broadly on acquiring things rather than acquiring certain types of things. Additionally, while collectors may trade or discard their possessions, hoarders feel they cannot.

Collectors derive pleasure from their collections. However, hoarders may experience distress from their collections, which may negatively affect their lives and relationships.

Hoarders use hoarding to manage anxiety and may feel intense anxiety when thinking about discarding things — even things of no value, such as used wrappers or old newspapers.

Learn more about hoarding disorder.

Pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS) refer to symptoms occurring in children who develop a streptococcal infection, such as strep throat.

PANDAS can cause a sudden onset of mental health symptoms — or an intense worsening of preexisting symptoms. Symptoms appear suddenly and without warning rather than gradually developing over time.

Children with PANDAS may develop vocal or motor tics — uncontrollable vocalizations and movements. They may also develop obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors consistent with OCD.

Learn more about PANDAS.

Trichotillomania is a subtype of OCD. People with this condition pluck their hair to cope with anxiety and distress. They may pluck hair all over their body or from a single location, such as the eyelashes or head.

People with this disorder want to stop removing their hair but feel they cannot. This condition can dramatically affect a person’s appearance.

Learn more about trichotillomania.

Olfactory reference syndrome, or olfactory reference disorder, causes a person to obsess over the idea they have bad-smelling body odor. Others do not smell these odors, or the odors are typical human odors, such as a slight odor from under the armpits. A person feels extremely distressed by these imaginary or slight odors.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, text revision (DSM-5-TR) classifies it as another type of OCD or related disorder.

Dermatillomania, or excoriation or skin-picking disorder, causes a person to compulsively pick at their skin to the point of harm or pain. People with this condition also often have OCD or another anxiety disorder.

People who pick their skin may do so to manage anxiety or distress. They want to stop but feel they cannot. This condition may manifest as picking at their nails or cuticles, popping pimples, and other forms of picking at the skin.

Learn more about skin-picking.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, distorts a person’s perception of their appearance. They may perceive themselves as “ugly” or focus on a single “problematic feature.” This distortion, coupled with a disproportionate concern with appearance, are the hallmarks of BDD.

People with this condition may spend significant time and money attempting to fix their appearance with surgery, cosmetics, and body modifications. Yet they will continue to feel distressed about their appearance without treatment.

Learn more about body dysmorphia.

Misophonia causes intense distress related to certain neutral or only mildly annoying sounds. For example, a person may feel anger or disgust or be unable to concentrate when they hear background noise, a person chewing, or something rattling in the car.

Many people experience annoyance related to some sounds, but misophonia causes intense distress that can negatively affect a person’s daily life, relationships, and functioning. Misophonia often occurs alongside other mental health conditions, such as OCD.

Learn more about misophonia.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can cause a wide range of symptoms. It may also occur alongside other anxiety-related symptoms and compulsive behaviors.

People who have behaviors or thoughts that upset them should seek medical care. OCD and other mental health conditions are treatable and help is available to manage symptoms.