There are a number of disorders that while not technically meeting the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), have very similar symptoms and fall within the so-called obsessive compulsive spectrum. The obsessive compulsive spectrum captures different clusters of symptoms that are reminiscent of, but not exactly the same of OCD. Often (but not always) the only difference between OCD and a given obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder is the specific focus of the obsessions and/or compulsions.
Here is a list of some of the disorders that are often thought of as falling within the obsessive compulsive disorder spectrum.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
OCD has symptoms that often resemble other forms of mental illness. One of these illnesses is body dysmorphic disorder, a form of mental illness in which the person is obsessed and/or preoccupied with an imagined defect or only slight anomaly or in their appearance.
Pathologic skin picking is a mental illness in which you compulsively pick your skin to remove small irregularities such as moles or freckles. Although classified as an impulse control disorder it has been suggested that skin picking is related to OCD.
Trichotillomania (TTM) is an impulse control disorder in which the affected person repeatedly pulls out hair from any part of the body for non-cosmetic reasons. Owing to the compulsive nature of this behavior, it has been suggested that TTM may be a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Pathological or compulsive hoarding is a specific type of behavior characterized by acquiring and failing to throw out a large number of items that would appear to have little or no value to others, severe cluttering of the person’s home so that it is no longer able to function as a viable living space and significant distress or impairment of work or social life.
People with hypochondriasis have obsession-like concerns primarily related to their health. These concerns often have to do with developing a serious medical condition, such as cancer. As such, hypochondriasis is often mistaken for OCD; however, each illness has a number of unique features, which healthcare providers can use to tell these two disorders apart.