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Obsessive-compulsive phenomena and symptoms in Asperger’s disorder and High-functioning Autism: An evaluative literature review

Author(s): Fischer-Terworth, Christian | Probst, Paul

Journal: Life Span and Disability
ISSN 2035-5963

Volume: XII;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 5;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Autistic disorders | Obsessive-compulsive phenomena | Asperger’s disorder | High Functioning Autism | Special interests

Although obsessional, ritualistic and stereotyped behaviors are a core feature of autistic disorders, substantial data related to those phenomena are lacking. Ritualistic and stereotyped behaviours can be found in almost all autistic patients. Additionally, cognitive able individuals with Asperger’s disorder (AD) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA: defined by the presence of IQ- levels > 70, Howlin, 2004, p. 6) mostly develop circumscribed, often called obsessional interests and preoccupations. Results from recent research indicate that autistic individuals frequently suffer from obsessions and compulsions according to DSM-IV criteria of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), being associated with marked distress and interference with daily life. OCD and autism share several similarities regarding symptom profiles and comorbidity. Etiologic overlap between the disorders becomes especially evident when focussing cognitive, neurobiological and genetic aspects.Autism-related obsessive- compulsive phenomena (AOCP) have generally to be differentiated from OCD-symptoms, although there is no sharp borderline.
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