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What's the line between "normal" and "problematic?" - January 13th 2015, 02:06 AM

I know you aren't professionals but I'd like some opinions. It's on obsessive thoughts/actions I guess?

So, I check things. For instance, I may set my alarm clock early ish so I don't forget, but then a few minutes later I'll check again. Sometimes I'll put it down after checking it then check again. This repeats throughout the day. Now that class has started up again it's the same with class syllabuses and class times, and I know that when I get homework I'll repeatedly check to make sure it's done and in my bookbag. I'll make sure everything is in my folder even though I know it is. I refresh my school email a lot because I'm afraid I'll miss something. When I do HelpLINK I will answer a ticket/tickets to get my stats where I want them and even though I SEE my stats are where I want them, I'll still keep refreshing. I'll constantly check my phone calendar to see reminders and times. Things of that nature.

But the reason I don't know if this is problematic or not is because it doesn't really necessarily interfere with my life. It's like the logical side of my brain tells me "You got this done already" but then the irrational side is like "Lol no check it again!" But it doesn't really interfere with my life because I don't stay up all night worrying and I don't miss/arrive late to appointments and things because I'm checking things. So I don't know if it's actually a problem.

I also have the compulsion to pick skin, and I guess this is a little more problematic. I mainly pick my scalp and my feet. The scalp, I always have open injuries on my scalp because of it and end up picking the scabs off. I pick off anything I deem to be an "imperfection." Sometimes when I initially get into the shower this burns a little. The same goes for the skin on my feet. I'll keep peeling it and sometimes it will get to a point where it bleeds a little and will hurt to walk. I'll find dead skin everywhere. I always have eczema pimples and normally I leave those alone unless they look a certain way I can't really describe well. Then I'll pick those.

So I dunno if either of those things are something to be concerned about? What's the line between "normal" and "problematic" in your opinion and have I crossed it?

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Re: What's the line between "normal" and "problematic?" - January 13th 2015, 02:53 AM

Well, I just pulled out my copy of the DSM-IV to enlighten you on what "they" characterize are symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, since you seem to be exhibiting obsessions, and compulsions. Maybe.

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. If 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 Disorders; 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.

So, that's literally what the book says. Now, it's not cut in stone. Really, to me, the only "concerning" part would be how it interferes with your life. Can you leave the house without performing certain rituals? Do you face great anxiety when you cannot fulfill a compulsion, or when you try to repress the obsessive thoughts?

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line, normal, problematic

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