How to explain obsessive compulsive disorder to a friend

Zaburzenie obsesyjno-kompulsywne (OCD) to zaburzenie psychiczne, w którym ludzie doświadczają niechcianych i powtarzających się myśli, uczuć, obrazów lub wrażeń (obsesje) i w odpowiedzi angażują się w zachowania lub czynności umysłowe (przymusy). Often, a person with OCD performs the compulsion to temporarily eliminate or reduce the impact of an obsession, and not doing so causes stress. OCD varies in severity, but if left untreated it can limit your ability to work at work, school, or home.

OCD is estimated to affect more than 2 percent of U. S. adults at some point in their lives, and the problem can be accompanied by other conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression, and eating disorders. It usually first appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.

Symptoms

The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder include the presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both, where:

  • Obsessions they are recurring thoughts, wishes or images that are perceived as intrusive and undesirable and, for most people, cause anxiety or anxiety. The individual tries to ignore them, suppress them or neutralize them with another thought or action.
  • Compulsions they are repetitive behaviors or mental activities that we feel compelled to perform in response to an obsession or according to strict rules. They are intended to counter fear or anxiety or to prevent frightening events or situations, but they are not realistically related to these effects or are excessive.

These obsessions or compulsions last more than an hour a day or cause clinically significant suffering or impairment. When OCD is diagnosed, it shouldn’t be better explained by the effects of a substance or another mental disorder or condition.

The specific details of an obsession can vary widely: they can include thoughts of contamination, a desire for order, or taboo thoughts related to sex, religion, and harming oneself or others.

Most people with OCD resort to compulsions in response to their obsessions, which can include behaviors such as washing; move or count objects; looking for reassurance; or check (e. g. to check that the oven is off or that the door is closed). They can also include mental activities that cannot be externally observed. Compulsions may temporarily relieve feelings that stem from an obsession, including anxiety, distress, or the sense that something is not right.

People with OCD can also avoid people, places, or things that can trigger obsessions and compulsions. They also often have dysfunctional beliefs, which can include a heightened sense of responsibility, intolerance of uncertainty, perfectionism, or an exaggerated view of the importance of disturbing thoughts.

People with OCD vary in how well they understand the condition. Someone with good intuition may find that OCD beliefs (for example, that coercion will prevent a terrible event) are not actually true; someone with a weaker view may believe that such beliefs are, or could be, true.

The severity of symptoms can change over time, but the disorder can persist for years or decades if left untreated.

People with OCD often experience another form of mental illness as well. It is estimated that three-quarters of adults with OCD have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder (such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Panic Disorder) at some point in their life; more than half were diagnosed with depressive or bipolar disorder; according to the DSM-5, as many as 30 percent have tic disorders. People with OCD can also experience a number of other conditions, including related disorders such as body dysmorphia, trichotillomania, and viewfinder disorder.

Dr. Steven Gans is a Chartered Board of Psychiatry and an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

How to explain obsessive compulsive disorder to a friend

While every intimate relationship has its ups and downs, dating someone with a chronic mental illness like OCD can present additional challenges and opportunities for growth. Above all, it is important to remember that disease is what a person has, not what he is. Try these strategies for creating and maintaining healthy relationships.

Work to build trust

It is not uncommon for people with OCD to hide the nature or severity of their symptoms from others, especially those with whom they may be romantically involved, for fear of embarrassment and rejection. If you are involved in relationship work, make it clear to your partner that OCD is something you want to talk about and want to know more about.

When your partner decides to reveal specific obsessions or compulsions they are struggling with, be sure to acknowledge how difficult it has been for you to talk about them. A little empathy and acceptance can go a long way in building trust and intimacy.

To educate

Being intimate or even dating someone with any type of chronic illness, including OCD, means you need to stay up to date with the symptoms and treatment for the condition. The seemingly many obsessions and compulsions that come with OCD can seem odd. illogical and even frightening.

Understanding what OCD symptoms are and where they come from can go a long way to managing them and lowering your relationship’s overall stress level. Additionally, it’s important to realize that many people with OCD experience other forms of anxiety or depression disorder that can complicate the symptoms they experience.

Please respect the privacy of your partner

Anche se il tuo partner potrebbe sentirsi a suo agio nel rivelarti la natura e la gravità dei suoi sintomi, potrebbe non essere altrettanto a suo agio quando parli di questi problemi con la famiglia, gli amici o i colleghi. Never assume that other people in your partner’s life know that they have OCD.

Un commento apparentemente innocuo fatto a un amico o a un familiare del tuo partner può rivelarsi molto doloroso o imbarazzante. This can undermine trust in the relationship or have other unwanted consequences.

Consider being involved in the treatment

Partners can often be of great help in determining the true nature and severity of symptoms. They can also help strengthen adherence to medical and psychological treatment regimens.

If you and your partner are up to it, there are numerous opportunities to help with exposure exercises or to keep up with treatment regimens. Becoming a treatment partner can help you build a stronger bond.

To be honest

Although the symptoms of chronic disease can often be successfully treated, they may never be cured. If you have concerns or are feeling overwhelmed by your partner’s symptoms, discuss this with your partner openly and honestly. This is especially important if you suspect or know that your partner’s obsessions and/or compulsions relate to you and/or matters of sexual intimacy.

A little communication can help avoid a series of misunderstandings that can ultimately lead to conflict or even collapse. If you feel unable to discuss such matters with your partner, reflect your thoughts on a trusted friend to try to get a different perspective. Remember that any relationship, not just with someone with OCD, is about balancing your personal needs with those of the relationship.

If you have a friend living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), you will naturally want to offer your support. The first step in helping someone cope with any mental illness is education. The term “OCD” is often used to refer to oddities or people who are very clean. But it is not an OCD, and excessive use of the term diminishes the severity of the disease.

According to Beyond OCD, the characteristic symptoms of OCD are obsessive thoughts and rituals that take enough time to disrupt a person’s ability to function during the day or to enjoy life.

Obsessive thoughts can take many forms depending on the person. Some people experience OCD as a fear of germs, while others fear illness or injury to themselves or others. They may also fear hurting someone, despite the lack of a history of violence. Some people with OCD have obsessive thoughts about numbers and create rituals based on “good” or “bad numbers,” according to Beyond OCD.

In other words, a friend with OCD can easily share a drink with you because their symptoms don’t manifest as a fear of germs. In the meantime, unbeknownst to you, they may be dealing with scary thoughts or fear of harming them or others. The best way to find out is to ask how your friend experiences OCD so that you have a better understanding of how it affects their life.

Be empathetic and don’t judge, but don’t allow their compulsions

According to Mind, a mental health charity based in England and Wales, it’s important that you don’t act in shock or judgment when a friend opens up to you about their thoughts. Instead, be empathetic and explain that you are there to listen when your friend wants or needs to talk.

While it may be difficult at the moment, Mind says it is important not to ignite a friend’s compulsions by helping him realize them. This won’t help your friend in the long run, as it will send a message that compulsive behavior is the only way to alleviate his anxiety. Instead, encourage them to continue working with their therapist and / or psychiatrist so they can find healthier response mechanisms.

Even if your intentions are better, don’t compare your thoughts with your friend’s. As explained by Powerful, saying that you understand your friend because you are very stressed invalid what it is like to live with OCD. It is one thing to be susceptible to stress or to always want your home to be in order; It is completely different to have a disease like OCD.

Mind andPowerful also pay attention to the importance of taking care of yourself. To support a friend, you need to be emotionally healthy.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, contact the emergency text line by texting home on 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

In this article

  • Common Obsessions
  • Common Compulsions
  • Diagnosissss

“OCD” is one of those terms some people use to describe people who like things super clean or so organized. But if you suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, then how negatively it is affecting your life is very real.

OCD does not usually occur right away. Symptoms start small, and to you, they can seem to be normal behaviors. They can be caused by a personal crisis, abuse, or something bad that affects you a lot, such as the death of a loved one. This is more likely to happen if people in your family have OCD or another mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety.

Symptoms OCD obejmują obsesje, kompulsje lub jedno i drugie.

Obsession is uncontrolled thought or fear that causes stress. Coercion is a ritual or activity that someone repeats frequently. Compulsions may offer some relief, but only for a little while.

Common Obsessions

Obsessions often have a theme, such as these:

Subject:Fear of germs or dirt

Uninterrupted

Symptom: You may be afraid to touch things that other people have touched, such as doorknobs. Or you don’t want to hug or shake hands with others.

Subject:Extreme need for order

Symptom: You feel stressed when objects are out of place. It’s really hard for you to leave the house until you do things a certain way.

Subject:Fear of harming yourself or someone else

Symptom:When you think of something completely different, you think you are hurting yourself or someone else.

Subject:Excessive doubts or fear of making mistakes

Symptom:You need constant encouragement or reassurance from others that what you are doing is right or right.

Subject:Fear of embarrassment

Symptom:You are afraid of shouting curses in public or of misbehaving in social situations.

Subject:Fear of bad or hostile thoughts, including distorted views about sex or religion

Symptom:Imagine disturbing sexual scenarios or disrespect.

Common Compulsions

Like obsessions, compulsions also share common motives and symptoms:

Subject:Washing or cleaning

Uninterrupted

Subject:Check

Symptom:You check repeatedly to make sure the kitchen appliances are off or the door is closed when you leave.

Subject:Accounting

Symptom:Say the numbers a certain way out loud or to yourself.

Subject:Order

Symptom: You feel the need to eat certain foods in a certain order. Arrange all clothes or kitchen pantry items in a specific way.

Subject:Routine

Symptom:You say or do things a certain number of times a certain way before you can leave the house.

Subject:Collect or collect

Symptom:Your home is full of things you don’t use or need, and you can’t help but buy more.

These repetitive tasks usually have nothing to do with the obsession you are trying to solve and can take hours.

Diagnosissss

If you think you have OCD, consult your doctor or psychiatrist.

The diagnosis process will likely include:

Physical examinationto see if your symptoms are caused by a medical condition.

Blood analysisto check your blood count, how well your thyroid is working, and any medications or alcohol in your system.

Psychological test or evaluationabout your feelings, fears, obsessions, compulsions and actions.

On some level, many people have superstitions or rituals or are worried that they have left the door open or the oven lit before leaving on a business trip or vacation. Se riesci a controllare questi pensieri o a pensarci in modo logico, probabilmente non è un disturbo ossessivo compulsivo. If you can’t control them, or they take at least an hour a day and cause problems in your life, it’s time to get help.

Sources

Mayo Clinic: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Beyond OCD: “Obsessions and Compulsions.”

Cleveland Clinic: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

National Institute of Mental Health: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

In this article

  • Common Obsessions
  • Common Compulsions
  • Diagnosissss

“OCD” is one of those terms some people use to describe people who like things super clean or so organized. But if you suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, then how negatively it is affecting your life is very real.

OCD does not usually occur right away. Symptoms start small, and to you, they can seem to be normal behaviors. They can be caused by a personal crisis, abuse, or something bad that affects you a lot, such as the death of a loved one. This is more likely to happen if people in your family have OCD or another mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety.

Symptoms OCD obejmują obsesje, kompulsje lub jedno i drugie.

Obsession is uncontrolled thought or fear that causes stress. Coercion is a ritual or activity that someone repeats frequently. Compulsions may offer some relief, but only for a little while.

Common Obsessions

Obsessions often have a theme, such as these:

Subject:Fear of germs or dirt

Uninterrupted

Symptom: You may be afraid to touch things that other people have touched, such as doorknobs. Or you don’t want to hug or shake hands with others.

Subject:Extreme need for order

Symptom: You feel stressed when objects are out of place. It’s really hard for you to leave the house until you do things a certain way.

Subject:Fear of harming yourself or someone else

Symptom:When you think of something completely different, you think you are hurting yourself or someone else.

Subject:Excessive doubts or fear of making mistakes

Symptom:You need constant encouragement or reassurance from others that what you are doing is right or right.

Subject:Fear of embarrassment

Symptom:You are afraid of shouting curses in public or of misbehaving in social situations.

Subject:Fear of bad or hostile thoughts, including distorted views about sex or religion

Symptom:Imagine disturbing sexual scenarios or disrespect.

Common Compulsions

Like obsessions, compulsions also share common motives and symptoms:

Subject:Washing or cleaning

Uninterrupted

Subject:Check

Symptom:You check repeatedly to make sure the kitchen appliances are off or the door is closed when you leave.

Subject:Accounting

Symptom:Say the numbers a certain way out loud or to yourself.

Subject:Order

Symptom: You feel the need to eat certain foods in a certain order. Arrange all clothes or kitchen pantry items in a specific way.

Subject:Routine

Symptom:You say or do things a certain number of times a certain way before you can leave the house.

Subject:Collect or collect

Symptom:Your home is full of things you don’t use or need, and you can’t help but buy more.

These repetitive tasks usually have nothing to do with the obsession you are trying to solve and can take hours.

Diagnosissss

If you think you have OCD, consult your doctor or psychiatrist.

The diagnosis process will likely include:

Physical examinationto see if your symptoms are caused by a medical condition.

Blood analysisto check your blood count, how well your thyroid is working, and any medications or alcohol in your system.

Psychological test or evaluationabout your feelings, fears, obsessions, compulsions and actions.

On some level, many people have superstitions or rituals or are worried that they have left the door open or the oven lit before leaving on a business trip or vacation. Se riesci a controllare questi pensieri o a pensarci in modo logico, probabilmente non è un disturbo ossessivo compulsivo. If you can’t control them, or they take at least an hour a day and cause problems in your life, it’s time to get help.

Sources

Mayo Clinic: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Beyond OCD: “Obsessions and Compulsions.”

Cleveland Clinic: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

National Institute of Mental Health: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder don’t necessarily suffer from the more discussed obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), although many people believe the two conditions are the same. People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) generally have a rigid pattern of thinking, feeling, and behavior, while people with obsessive-compulsive disorder have obsessions (recurring and persistent thoughts) and compulsions (repetitive behaviors).

Sound confusing? Michael’s story is quite typical of the OCPD. At the age of 25, Michael began his career as a dancer in the modern company. He practiced dancing diligently every night, never leaving the night. During the day he worked as a waiter in a bar. His colleagues knew he was picky and were often teased because he couldn’t touch leftovers on customers’ plates. Sometimes Michael also collected used napkin rings, fearing that he would otherwise be contaminated.

He had a lot of feather pillows in his apartment. The standard ones were on her bed, the designer ones on her sofa in the living room, and the big red one was on the mat she trained on. After a hard day at the restaurant and a stressful night of training, he came home, lay down somewhere and happily grabbed a pillow that he slipped under his head. His hands slid across the pillow until he found feathers to break.

Michael had the opportunity to become the lead dancer in a show his troupe threw in the fall. He doubled his exercise time, cut his restaurant hours, and tried to lose even more weight. He was pretty fit now, but he knew the troupe’s art director liked the way his dancers looked almost anorexic. Everyone was telling him to calm down, complaining that he looked too thin and seemed to be making an effort. Michael ignored them. He only slept four hours a night to spend more time training and ate even less. He began to realize that something was really wrong when he was forced to arrange the pillows on the bed and sofa perfectly before he could fall asleep. Then he decided it was necessary to balance all his pillows.

He explained his problems to his weekly psychotherapy group, which he considered eliminating to save time. The rest of the group asked him if breaking his feathers and balancing with his pillows was giving him a sexual experience. Michele said no. He told them that he had broken his feathers since childhood, but the compulsion to balance was new. They were kind and tried to suggest help. Then the social worker leading the group took Michael aside and recommended a psychiatrist. When Michael consulted a doctor, he was diagnosed with OCD.

The doctor was able to identify Michael’s problem primarily because he recognized the following eight characteristics that are often seen by friends and family living with someone with OCPD.

1. Concerned about details, rules and schedules to the point of losing the enjoyment of the lesson. If two pillows were on one side of Michael’s sofa, two would have to be on the other side. He couldn’t rest if he didn’t. Plus, he sat for over an hour flapping feathers against pillows when he’d only spent a few minutes in his (perhaps less stressful) life before him. The time lost in this compulsion made him angry and upset, but he found he couldn’t stop.

2. A sense of perfectionism that interferes with the performance of tasks. In Michael’s case, he wanted to wear gloves when he worked as a waiter, but he knew that if he did, the other staff would laugh at him. Many times it took him twice as long to clean the tables as the other waiters, but he didn’t let anyone help him.

3. Friends and family play a second or third role in life. My patient, Emily, was so busy with her career as a novice photographer that her family and friendships were not considered important. Come Michael, se gli amici o i familiari volevano fare visita o suggerivano di uscire, li rimandava, tanto da diventare una solitaria. As a result, people with OCPD typically have few friends and their family often ignores them.

4. Excessive stiffness and stubbornness.If the director had told Michael to stretch his leg a certain way, Michael would have done it exactly as he was told, even if it was painful or inappropriate for dancing.

5. Excessive conscientiousness and lack of flexibility with respect to one’s values.Emily, the patient mentioned above, went to church every Sunday and expected everyone else to do the same, regardless of whether she was part of their belief system or not.

6. He is like a collector.In Michael’s case, because he had trouble throwing something away, some of his pillows were from childhood

7. A person often cannot let others work for him because they often do not meet his standards.Even though they needed help with their work, both Michael and Emily couldn’t let others work for them because they didn’t live up to their high – and often unrealistic – standards.

8. Unhealthy use of money – Often accumulating money excessively or being stingy.Michael had bundles of money in his apartment that he never used, even when he needed it.

When Michael was forced to nibble on his pillow’s feathers for an hour, he was close to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). However, with the help of a psychiatrist and group therapy, Michael was able to curb the feather picking and eventually became more outgoing and less rigid in thinking and behaving. People with OCD usually aren’t able to refrain from being coerced or obsessed so easily without drugs or extensive behavioral therapy, which is another clue to their difference.

If someone you know or love exhibits traits such as those of Michael or Emily, encourage them to seek individual psychotherapy or group therapy. It will make a difference in the world for that person and for everyone around them.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and backgrounds and occurs when a person falls into a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.

Most people have obsessive thoughts and / or compulsive behaviors at some point in their life, but that doesn’t mean we all have “some OCD”. In order for obsessive-compulsive disorder to be diagnosed, this cycle of obsessions and compulsions becomes so extreme that it takes a long time and interferes with performing important activities that the person enjoys.

What exactly are obsessions and compulsions?

Obsessions are thoughts, images or impulses that occur over and over again and feel outside of the person’s control. People with OCD don’t want to have such thoughts and find them disturbing. In most cases, people with OCD realize that these thoughts don’t make any sense. Obsessions are typically accompanied by intense and uncomfortable feelings such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a feeling that things have to be done in a way that is “just right.” In the context of OCD, obsessions take time and interfere with important activities that the person enjoys. This last part is extremely important to keep in mind as it partly determines whether or not someone has OCD – a mental disorder – and not an obsessive personality trait.

Unfortunately, “obsession” or “obsession” are terms commonly used in everyday speech. These more ordinary uses of the word mean that someone is concerned about a topic or idea, or even a person. “Obsessed” in this everyday sense doesn’t involve problems in day-to-day living and even has a pleasurable component to it. You may be “obsessed” with a new song you hear on the radio, but still meet your friend for dinner, get ready for bed on time, go to work on time in the morning, etc. despite your obsession. Indeed, people with OCD have a hard time hearing this use of “obsession” because it appears to reduce their struggle with OCD symptoms.

Even if the content of the “obsession” is more serious, for example, everyone might have had a thought from time to time about getting sick, or worrying about a loved one’s safety, or wondering if a mistake they made might be catastrophic in some way, that doesn’t mean these obsessions are necessarily symptoms of OCD. Although these thoughts are the same as in OCD, someone without OCD can have these thoughts, be anxious for a moment, and then move on. Indeed, research has shown that most people have unwanted “intrusive thoughts” from time to time, but in the context of OCD, these intrusive thoughts appear frequently and trigger extreme anxietyinterferes with daily functioning.

Common Obsessions in OCD [1]

Contamination

  • Body fluids (examples: urine, feces)
  • Germs / diseases (examples: herpes, HIV)
  • Environmental pollutants (examples: asbestos, radiation)
  • Household chemicals (examples: detergents, solvents)
  • Dirty

To lose control

  • Fear of acting on the impulse to self-harm
  • Fear of acting on the impulse to hurt others
  • Fear of violent or frightening images in the mind
  • Fear of cursing or cursing
  • Fear of stealing things
  • Fear of being responsible for something terrible (examples: fire, burglary)
  • Fear of hurting others due to lack of caution (example: dropping something on the ground that could cause someone to slip and get hurt)

Obsessions Related to Perfectionism

Unwanted sexual thoughts

  • Forbidden or perverse thoughts or images of a sexual nature
  • Forbidden or extravagant sexual urges affecting others
  • Obsessions seksualne, które dotyczą dzieci lub kazirodztwa
  • Obsessions about aggressive sexual behavior towards others

Religious Obsessions (Scrupulosity)

  • Concern about offending God or taking care of blasphemy
  • Excessive preoccupation with good / evil or morality

Other Obsessions

Compulsions they are the other part of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These are repetitive behaviors or thoughts that a person uses with the intention of neutralizing, countering or removing obsessions. People with OCD realize that this is only a temporary solution, but with no better way to deal with coercion, they rely on coercion as a temporary escape. Compulsions can also include avoiding situations that trigger obsessions. Compulsions are time consuming and get in the way of important activities the person values.

As with obsessions, not all repetitive behaviors or “rituals” are compulsions. You have to look at the function and context of the behavior. For example, bedtime routines, religious practice, and learning new skills require some level of repetition over and over, but are usually a positive and functional part of daily life. Behaviors depend on the context. Arranging and ordering books for eight hours a day isn’t a compulsion if the person works in a library. Similarly, you may have “compulsive” behaviors that wouldn’t fall under OCD, if you are just a stickler for details or like to have things neatly arranged. In this case, “compulsive” refers to a personality trait or something that you actually prefer or like. In most cases, people with OCD feel motivated to engage in compulsive behaviors and I’d rather not have to these time-consuming and repeatedly torturing acts. In OCD, compulsive behavior is an attempt to escape or reduce anxiety or the presence of an obsession

People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder don’t necessarily suffer from the more discussed obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), although many people believe the two conditions are the same. People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) generally have a rigid pattern of thinking, feeling, and behavior, while people with obsessive-compulsive disorder have obsessions (recurring and persistent thoughts) and compulsions (repetitive behaviors).

Sound confusing? Michael’s story is quite typical of the OCPD. At the age of 25, Michael began his career as a dancer in the modern company. He practiced dancing diligently every night, never leaving the night. During the day he worked as a waiter in a bar. His colleagues knew he was picky and were often teased because he couldn’t touch leftovers on customers’ plates. Sometimes Michael also collected used napkin rings, fearing that he would otherwise be contaminated.

He had a lot of feather pillows in his apartment. The standard ones were on her bed, the designer ones on her sofa in the living room, and the big red one was on the mat she trained on. After a hard day at the restaurant and a stressful night of training, he came home, lay down somewhere and happily grabbed a pillow that he slipped under his head. His hands slid across the pillow until he found feathers to break.

Michael had the opportunity to become the lead dancer in a show his troupe threw in the fall. He doubled his exercise time, cut his restaurant hours, and tried to lose even more weight. He was pretty fit now, but he knew the troupe’s art director liked the way his dancers looked almost anorexic. Everyone was telling him to calm down, complaining that he looked too thin and seemed to be making an effort. Michael ignored them. He only slept four hours a night to spend more time training and ate even less. He began to realize that something was really wrong when he was forced to arrange the pillows on the bed and sofa perfectly before he could fall asleep. Then he decided it was necessary to balance all his pillows.

He explained his problems to his weekly psychotherapy group, which he considered eliminating to save time. The rest of the group asked him if breaking his feathers and balancing with his pillows was giving him a sexual experience. Michele said no. He told them that he had broken his feathers since childhood, but the compulsion to balance was new. They were kind and tried to suggest help. Then the social worker leading the group took Michael aside and recommended a psychiatrist. When Michael consulted a doctor, he was diagnosed with OCD.

The doctor was able to identify Michael’s problem primarily because he recognized the following eight characteristics that are often seen by friends and family living with someone with OCPD.

1. Concerned about details, rules and schedules to the point of losing the enjoyment of the lesson. If two pillows were on one side of Michael’s sofa, two would have to be on the other side. He couldn’t rest if he didn’t. Plus, he sat for over an hour flapping feathers against pillows when he’d only spent a few minutes in his (perhaps less stressful) life before him. The time lost in this compulsion made him angry and upset, but he found he couldn’t stop.

2. A sense of perfectionism that interferes with the performance of tasks. In Michael’s case, he wanted to wear gloves when he worked as a waiter, but he knew that if he did, the other staff would laugh at him. Many times it took him twice as long to clean the tables as the other waiters, but he didn’t let anyone help him.

3. Friends and family play a second or third role in life. My patient, Emily, was so busy with her career as a novice photographer that her family and friendships were not considered important. Come Michael, se gli amici o i familiari volevano fare visita o suggerivano di uscire, li rimandava, tanto da diventare una solitaria. As a result, people with OCPD typically have few friends and their family often ignores them.

4. Excessive stiffness and stubbornness.If the director had told Michael to stretch his leg a certain way, Michael would have done it exactly as he was told, even if it was painful or inappropriate for dancing.

5. Excessive conscientiousness and lack of flexibility with respect to one’s values.Emily, the patient mentioned above, went to church every Sunday and expected everyone else to do the same, regardless of whether she was part of their belief system or not.

6. He is like a collector.In Michael’s case, because he had trouble throwing something away, some of his pillows were from childhood

7. A person often cannot let others work for him because they often do not meet his standards.Even though they needed help with their work, both Michael and Emily couldn’t let others work for them because they didn’t live up to their high – and often unrealistic – standards.

8. Unhealthy use of money – Often accumulating money excessively or being stingy.Michael had bundles of money in his apartment that he never used, even when he needed it.

When Michael was forced to nibble on his pillow’s feathers for an hour, he was close to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). However, with the help of a psychiatrist and group therapy, Michael was able to curb the feather picking and eventually became more outgoing and less rigid in thinking and behaving. People with OCD usually aren’t able to refrain from being coerced or obsessed so easily without drugs or extensive behavioral therapy, which is another clue to their difference.

If someone you know or love exhibits traits such as those of Michael or Emily, encourage them to seek individual psychotherapy or group therapy. It will make a difference in the world for that person and for everyone around them.