Ask an expert

18 Oct 2008

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Hi, I just need to know if I really do have a problem and need to see a psychiatrist/psychologist for it.

I have two ' behaviours'  (if we can call them that), but they are hard to explain so I' ll try my best:

Firstly, if I' m looking at something - it can be a picture or a painting or it can be people around me or I could just be sitting in my room staring at the wall opposite me - I take it in as a whole picture and I start separating the colours I see and once I' ve actively looked at a colour, it sort of ' disappears'  out of the picture and I go one by one, eliminating each colour until there is nothing left.

Secondly, every word I see, I have to type - it' s like I have a mental keyboard and sometimes you can actually see or feel my fingers twitching because I' m typing. For example, if I see a billboard on the side of the road and the writing is centre-aligned, bold and italics, I then mentally have to click the centre-align button, control+b for bold and control+i for italics and then I type it exactly as I see it. This has now extended typings things I hear people say - for example, if I go watch a movie, I end up typing the whole script of what everyone is saying. No matter where I am, if I see writing or hear people talking, I have to type it out, but over and over again. For some reason, it' s never good enough or fast enough in my head so I keep typing constantly - at times, I just type the same thing over and over in my head for ages.

The reason I' m writing is because I' m kind of worried. The behaviour where I separate the colours doesn' t bother me too much, but the one where I type really annoys and frustrates me and I can' t seem to stop.

Is this considered OCD? Or what else could it be? Should I see someone professional about it? I' ve asked some friends and parents and they all seem to think I just have a very active mind.

Thanks for your time, I look forward to your reply.
Answer 341 views

01 Jan 0001

These are interesting and unusual symptoms you describe. They don't fit any common pattern, but there is, I agree, an element of OCD about them, especially the second. THis could be an expression of an obsessive personality, or a variant of OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Usually the most useful criterion to use when deciding about a symptom or worry as to whether one should see a professional about it is : Does it interfere with your freedo to enjoy your work and your life in general ? Is it unpleasant and unwelcome and something you would rather be without ? If yes, then it would, as appears to be the case from your description, be a good idea to see a psychologist or psychiatrist for a full assessment and a discussion of diagnostic possibiolities and treatment recommendations.
I'm curious about what sort of work you do. From the nature of especially the second symptom, I'd guess if its not computerized typesetting or web-publishing, it at least involves a great deal of typing out of material, and page formatting ?
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.