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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • anonymous Asks ...

    Is it ocd if I have to repeatedly lock my car over and over again. I will lock it and then wlking in to the shop or whatever and then I will have to turn back and relock it and then because there are two buttons on my car locker I start wondering if I accidentally unlocked it so I will need to lock it again…and on it goes until I eventually start to feel very self conscious for standing like a crazy man in the parking lot locking my car over and over again. Even when my wife tells me I have done it I still need to go back and do it again. I don’t do anything else crazy like this but this is starting to become very weird and beyond my control.

  • Katie Brooks Says ...
    Katie Brooks



    It sounds as if you are experiencing some disturbing repetitive checking, which is a component of OCD.  According to your description, you do feel like it is excessive, but unless the obsessions and compulsions are lasting more than an hour per day and/ or are causing a serious disruption in your daily functioning, I would not diagnose you with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Oftentimes there are self-help workbooks that you can buy on Amazon that will educate you further on OCD and also give you some strategies for coping.  Unfortunately, mental illness is progressive.   You may want to be proactive and see a therapist who practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, specifically Exposure and Response Prevention.  A therapist will help you manage the compulsion to check your lock and help you discover any obsessive thoughts that are triggering that compulsion.   If you have any further questions please contact me for a private phone session or appointment at GoodTherapySanDiego.Com. 


    Warmest Wishes,

    Katie Brooks, LCSW


    The Criteria for OCD is as follows:

    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. Note: This does not apply to children.


    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. I 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 Disorder; 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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