How Caregivers Untangle the Knots of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from Autistic Adults?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a recognised mental health condition that causes a person to act on compulsive behaviours and have obsessive thoughts. If you are considering a career change or are exploring some of the available care home jobs in Basingstoke which involve supporting autistic adults, it is important to understand both the nuances and overlap between autism and OCD.

How Does OCD Manifest in Service Users?

Obsessive thoughts can increase feelings of anxiety and can manifest as doubts, worries, images, or urges that appear repeatedly in the mind. Compulsive behaviours are repeated actions that a person with OCD will do to reduce those feelings of anxiety which are heightened by the obsessive thoughts. These behaviours can take many forms, including ensuring that an object is in a very specific place or checking that a door is locked.

OCD can be both exhausting and upsetting for the individual, and it can also affect their everyday life in significant ways. The good news is that treatment can keep the obsessive thoughts and behaviours under control, providing a person is also surrounded by supportive caregivers who understand the nuances of this often-challenging mental health condition.

Autism and OCD

There are marked commonalities between OCD and autism. Many autistic adults indicate that while autism is a positive aspect of their lives, the compulsions and obsessions associated with OCD are intrusive and unwelcome. There are a range of behavioural patterns that are seen in both autism and OCD, including

– repetitive and restricted behaviours
– specific behavioural patterns
– averseness to breaking routines
– resistant to accepting change

Caregivers for autistic adults understand that repetitive behaviours are quite often enjoyable and soothing. However, when supporting autistic adults with OCD, caregivers need to respond accordingly when those behavioural compulsions become distressing or intrusive. Let’s look at an example here to highlight this point

Repeatedly opening and closing a drawer is something that both an autistic adult and someone with OCD might habitually do. However, while the autistic adult may be performing this ritualised behaviour because they enjoy the sound and/or the action of pushing and pulling the drawer, a person with OCD could be performing the same behaviour because they believe that if they don’t, something terrible will happen to someone they care about. Clearly, the former is soothing and enjoyable, whereas the latter is extremely distressing.

Unfortunately, the similarities between certain traits of both autism and OCD mean that many autistic adults have had their symptoms of OCD dismissed as autistic traits at some point. Following an accurate diagnosis, however, there are many treatment options available, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy. Importantly, the techniques learned during therapy can be reinforced by knowledgeable caregivers to promote more favourable outcomes for autistic adults.

Are you Looking at Care Home Jobs in Basingstoke?

If so, you have already taken the first step towards making a tangible difference to the lives of people within your local community. Care home jobs in Basingstoke are remarkably varied, which will allow you to utilise your unique skills and personal qualities to both comprehensively support service users with complex needs and excel in your career.