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MilkyWay's avatar

How do you determine whether you are OCD about something?

Asked by MilkyWay (13157 points ) August 16th, 2012

A recent question was asked regarding things you are OCD about. Some of the answers made me think about the stuff I do out of habit, thinking it is normal.
For example, my room is always in a mess, but I always have the bookshelf tidy and the books in order.
I always try and keep my clothes facing one way in my wardrobe, with the hangers also facing one way. These are things I do without even considering that it’s not normal… is it normal? Or just habit?

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13 Answers

ucme's avatar

You know when the clocks go forward/back a couple of times a year?
Right, good, keep up…..if you were to do this obsessively then you wouldn’t know if you were coming or going, very confusing i’d imagine.
This took a little while to type because I couldn’t spell obsessively :¬)

Mariah's avatar

I wouldn’t worry about the things you mention. I think it’s when such things are actually interfering with your life, that you should start worrying. We all have our little quirks and neuroses, though.

PhiNotPi's avatar

Although OCD is a disorder with a specific class of symptoms, in a casual sense “being OCD about something” means that you take great care to ensure that something is considered acceptable/correct, when your opinion of acceptable/correct is either extremely arbitrary or completely pointless (no logical reason why).

One person I know likes to have the volume levels on the TV to be an even number. I consider that “OCD”, even though the person is not OCD in any other way. Another example might be a person who tries to change something that he knows will be undone in a few minutes.

Your examples may or may not be considered “OCD”. They are probably just a habit. One way to decide is to imagine if all of your clothing or hangers spontaneously swapped direction, would you feel the need to fix it immediately?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Your own description of the behavior can help diagnose the disorder. A physical exam can rule out physical causes, and a psychiatric evaluation can rule out other mental disorders. Source

There are many things that one can be obsessive about, but it seems like the compulsive aspect is what should make someone consider it seriously. A friend and co-worker once told me that he was clinically diagnosed with OCD. What he eventually described is nothing like the routines that I go through.

With that said, it doesn’t mean that any of us don’t have a slight form of OCD. It just isn’t bad enough to seek professional help.

DigitalBlue's avatar

There’s no such thing as being “OCD” about something. You either have obsessive compulsive disorder, or you don’t.
OCD isn’t “I can’t bear to leave dirty dishes in my sink, it’s so disgusting that I can’t do anything else until I know it’s taken care of.” OCD is more like “I can’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, because I fear that I will get cancer, and even though I washed the dishes, I need to keep going back and bleaching the sink, because I am not convinced that it is clean.”

There is a huge difference.
Having quirks about the way your clothing hangs or what number the TV volume is on is not OCD, unless they are causing you extreme and irrational anxiety.

I have OCD, and I have quirks like keeping the volume on a certain number and lining my shoes up a certain way, I’m even a very tidy person… but these things are in no way related to my actual disorder. They are just common quirks.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Does this sound anything like you?

You are a conductor. When faced with a complex situation involving many factors, you enjoy managing all of the variables, aligning and realigning them until you are sure you have arranged them in the most productive configuration possible. In your mind there is nothing special about what you are doing. You are simply trying to figure out the best way to get things done. But others, lacking this theme, will be in awe of your ability. “How can you keep so many things in your head at once?” they will ask. “How can you stay so flexible, so willing to shelve well-laid plans in favor of some brand-new configuration that has just occurred to you?” But you cannot imagine behaving in any other way. You are a shining example of effective flexibility, whether you are changing travel schedules at the last minute because a better fare has popped up or mulling over just the right combination of people and resources to accomplish a new project. From the mundane to the complex, you are always looking for the perfect configuration. Of course, you are at your best in dynamic situations. Confronted with the unexpected, some complain that plans devised with such care cannot be changed, while others take refuge in the existing rules or procedures. You don’t do either. Instead, you jump into the confusion, devising new options, hunting for new paths of least resistance, and figuring out new partnerships—because, after all, there might just be a better way. Source

YARNLADY's avatar

Again, a formal diagnosis is being used by lay people to describe their behavior and those of others. It isn’t really a professional diagnosis, it is simply a way to describe some quirks.

For people who truly cannot live their daily life, they should find a competent psychiatrist.

Bill1939's avatar

Habits that create pockets of order that you control are not OCD. They are closer to superstitious behaviors.

Symbeline's avatar

I’d consider myself OCD about things if said things caused me anxieties or otherwise breached my quality of life. There are a few things I think I might be slightly OCD about, that is if I understand the term correctly. Alcoholism has a good way to cure this though, haha. Not that I’m suggesting it.

MilkyWay's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Hmm, yes there are some qualities which I relate to definitley.

josie's avatar

You are over- thinking the issue. Try focusing on something that is not about you.

wundayatta's avatar

@MilkyWay I trust you understand that what @Pied_Pfeffer is suggesting is that you have a talent, not a disorder.

MilkyWay's avatar

Okay, okay. I get it lol!
I’m not OCD (breathes sigh of relief)
I’m just,,, me. :D
Thanks for your answers everybody <3

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