More threads by electric_sheep

I would probably be diagnosed as OCD by a trained professional. Funny how so many traits and characteristics can be so neatly summarized like that. I've never sought help, but wonder if I should. Unfortunately, I don't have health insurance. I'll have to spend some time thinking about just how much this has impacted my life, and what's due to OCD and what's not. Without a doubt my struggles with addiction of one form or another have been very disruptive. Is addiction a symptom of OCD, or a particular expression of it ?

Feel free to scan my "symptoms":

Sometimes I find myself repeatedly touching my thumb to each of my four fingers in sequence, usually accompanied by some mental counting ("2, 4, 6, 8..."). There are variations. I may spell out a word in this manner, for instance, or I may tap the desk instead. It's always quite "organized" though. I don't do this often. It seems to happen more often if something is on my mind or I'm upset.

I find myself worrying about the cleanliness of my apartment and car.

In the past I may have exhibited symptoms of hoarding when it comes to my mp3 collection. For a time I was obsessed with downloading and organizing them. Finally I realized I was spending more time downloading/organizing than listening to them.

I have perfectionist tendencies (when it comes to certain things). When I was a kid I was particularly bad. I would alphabatize my science-fiction novels. If a cover got too bent up, or some pages soiled or wrinkled, I'd actually buy a new copy. I would rip up and throw away my drawings.

I've been "addicted" to various things throughout my life... exercise, drugs, drinking, sex and porn, school, computers, etc... "Addicted" meaning focusing on it to a harmful degree.

Now for my bizarre bathroom rituals (this is embarrassing).

I often (but not always) sit while peeing due to concern that drops of pee may "fly up" and hit me. I almost always use the towel to open the bathroom door when in public. This next confession may be too much information, but I am quasi obsessed with the cleanliness of my rear, often going so far as to use a wet towel to clean it (after excessive whipping).

After showering I dry everything except my ass and my ears, as these body parts have been ostrasized (I think of them as dirty). I use tissue to dry them instead.

I usually pick up things really quick. I wish this was due to genius, but it's probably because once I get interested in something, I focus on it religiously. My friends and family are often envious of this, but I've paid quite a price.

I've been known to have obsessional thoughts,. There have been two times in my life when they have been particularly bad. When I was in graduate school there were times when I couldn't "turn off", so to speak, and would think about math problems while running, driving, and even sleeping. Sometimes I would "wake" in the middle of the night with solutions to math problems. Clearly I must not have been sleeping very deeply. The other time in my life when they were particularly bad was when my significant other let slip too much information about her past sex life (and, purposely or not, made comparisons with me). I was obsessed for weeks, reading everything I could online about what's termed "retroactive jealousy". I studied this phenomenon as if I was going to write a book on it, and indead I did write an essay or two. I started looking into yoga and meditation to make the thoughts go away. Created notecards to try and steer my thoughts in another direction. Eventually time turned out to be the best healer, though to this day I still occationally think about it.

That's probably just the quick list.
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I'm curious what the difference is between "compulsive behavior" and OCD ?

I googled around a bit, and several of my past addictions seem to fall solidly within the criteria for "compulsive behavior". I found myself engaging in them even when I really didn't want to... almost as if it was some other agent (not me) making the decision about it.

Thinking about it... I've never NOT been "addicted". The best I've been able to do is juggle my addictions... that is, shift around the addictive energy so as to make it less destructive. If things are going badly all of this becomes more and more difficult of course.


I think compulsive behavior is one of the symptoms of OCD, as opposed to being a separate entitiy, ES. As has been said elsewhere on the boards, there are different types of OCD. Some people are both obsessive and compulsive, some exhibit primarily obsessive behaviors, and others exhibit primarily compulsive behaviors. At least, that's the way I understand it.
It's hard for me to tell from reading over the criteria, probably because language is so ambiguous and there are "qualifiers" for most of my answers.

For example, I've had obsessional thoughts before, but I don't right now (and havn't in some time).

Sometimes my behavior seems compulsive, but I've always used the term "addictive" for it. Sometimes these "addictions" are out of my control; then, seemingly out of nowhere, I somehow manage to summon the determination to fight back for a period. I've looked at these addictions more as me not having good coping skills more than anything.

I think it's clear I don't unambiguously have OCD. Rather, I have tendencies that correspond or resemble OCD. Yet, there are things about how my mind works that doesn't seem quite right.

If OCD can be contrued to exist on a scale... I'd probably fall somewhere on it, but towards the lower end.

If OCD has a physical cause, perhaps I am only slightly afflicted (I have a limp, but can still walk). Still... these aspects of my personality have undoubtably affected my life greatly. Probably more than I'm willing to admit here.

I guess the next question is... should I do anything about it ?


Since you say these "addictions" have effected your life (I'm presuming you mean this in a negative way), I'd say you certainly can't lose by having some tests run by a professional. A clinical psychologist can work with you to identify what your problems might be and can help you, through therapy (possibly medications), to overcome those that are negatively impacting the way you want your life to be. :)
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