Is this OCD?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From Hong Kong: Hi there,
I am wondering if this is characteristic of OCD. I have to do everything twice. For example, I cannot turn a light switch on just once, i have to turn it on, then off, then on again.

This does not just apply to things like that. When it comes to food I have to eat the same food twice (but not on the same day). This applies to drinks as well. Or if i am eating for example biscuits, have to eat them in even numbers.

I realise how ridiculous all this is, but it does cause anxiety when I don’t follow these rules.

Thanks

A: Lots of people have quirks, little idiocyncracies or habits, that are a bit unusual. Such habits cross the line to OCD when they are time consuming (take more than an hour a day), or significantly interfere with the person’s normal routine, work or schooling, or get in in the way of relationships.

I think the behaviors you describe are more in the category of little impulses that help you contain some anxiety, but that haven’t risen to the level of a mental health diagnosis. Unless they start getting in the way of living your life, I think you should just view them with a sense of humor.

I wish you well
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Jul 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). Is this OCD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/07/28/is-this-ocd/

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