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Do I have OCD?

answered 08:52 PM EST, Mon August 01, 2011
I’ve always been a bit of a double checker of things, but it’s gotten to the point now that I have a lot of trouble leaving the house. I have these crazy worries that I left the stove on or the iron is plugged in or the electrical wire is dangling out of the socket. Before I leave the house and before I got to bed I have to check and recheck everything like 5 times – and I’ll usually end up getting out of bed or unlocking the door after leaving to go back and check things a few more times before I can reluctantly leave it alone.

I used to really like to smoke marijuana but I had to give it up because it just drove my anxieties about this kind of stuff into super overdrive and I’d literally stay up for hours into night just so I could monitor the house so it wouldn’t burn down.

If I use the stove at any point near when I have to go I have to check that it’s off and cooled down an insane number of times.

I’ve told a few friends about what I go through and they laugh it off and say they do the same thing…but I don’t think they could to the same level, because I really have a hard time even leaving the house anymore. Oddly enough, if I am with someone else and they do the checking, I don’t worry at all and can leave without distress. I also brought it up with my doctor at a recent check-up but he said that people with OCD are much more affected and that my behavior remains within the normal range. He recommended relaxation exercises as a way to overcome compulsive feelings.

Based on what I have described, do you think I have OCD? If so, will medication help me?

David Johnson Says...

How lonely it must feel to be struggling and your friends and even your doctor isn't much help. It certainly sounds like your symptoms are beyond normal limits, contrary to what your doctor says. Symptoms that make you late leaving your house may worsen to the point that they may threaten your livelihood and relationships.  Anxiety disorders have a way of getting worse without treatment, especially if you can't reverse the behavior on your own with relaxation and other self-help methods.

Diagnosis is not something one can do from a written description. Obsessive-Compulsive symptoms are much more common than the full disorder. There can be many reasons for your difficulty. The fact that the symptoms have worsened suggests that you need an assessment by a qualified mental health professional. Good luck!

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Page last updated Aug 02, 2011

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