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What are the classifications?
I often behave in a way that I am unable to explain, and wonder if I may have OCD. Then I think that I am just over reacting. I can't sleep if there is a wardrobe door, or drawer open. I go around closing doors and drawers all day, it seems. Im very neat, and I like things to be parallel. I notice just little things like this. I am one of those individuals that friends call 'Monica' (from the NBC televisions series, Friends)
Do I have OCD, or am I just obsessive?
Eagerly awaiting your reply

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I think it's helpful to think of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as one end of a continuum. Many of us are obsessive or compulsive about certain things in our lives and in many cases that can even be adaptive. We generally think of those traits as OCD when they meet the criterion of inrefering with one's ability to carry on with day-to-day activities.

As a simple example, it isn't unusual for someone to leave the house, get into the car, and then think, "Did I lock the door?" or "Did I turn off the stove?". We may even get out of the car to check it - once. But the individual with OCD isn't able to leave after checking once, because the thought is still there - it becomes, "What if I didn't check it correctly?" and s/he must return to check the thing repeatedly.

Diagnostic criteria for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(DSM-IV-TR)
A. Either obsessions or compulsions:

Obsessions as defined by (1), (2), (3), and (4):

(1) recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress
(2) the thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems
(3) the person attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, impulses, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action
(4) the person recognizes that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of his or her own mind (not imposed from without as in thought insertion)

Compulsions as defined by (1) and (2):

(1) repetitive behaviors (e.g., hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g., praying, counting, repeating words silently) that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly
(2) the behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive

B. At some point during the course of the disorder, the person has recognized that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable.

C. The obsessions or compulsions cause marked distress, are time consuming (take more than 1 hour a day), or significantly interfere with the person's normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or usual social activities or relationships.

D. If another Axis I disorder is present, the content of the obsessions or compulsions is not restricted to it (e.g., preoccupation with food in the presence of an Eating Disorders; hair pulling in the presence of Trichotillomania; concern with appearance in the presence of Body Dysmorphic Disorder; preoccupation with drugs in the presence of a Substance Use Disorder; preoccupation with having a serious illness in the presence of Hypochondriasis; preoccupation with sexual urges or fantasies in the presence of a Paraphilia; or guilty ruminations in the presence of Major Depressive Disorder).

E. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.
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