On Your Mind: Could this be OCD?

I have always been very picky about the way I keep my house. Even as a child, my room had to be in a very specific order before I could go to sleep. My husband thinks my “obsession” (his word) with the house being in order before we leave it is getting worse over time. (I need the beds to be made, rooms straightened up, kitchen floor swept, sinks cleaned and dried, window blinds down, etc.) or it makes me feel anxious and stressed about leaving. I don’t ask him to do all of these things. I usually do all of it myself, and I admit that it can take a while. He thinks I might have OCD. I think I just like a clean house. Does this sound like something I should see a doctor or counselor about?

Response by Whitney Gates, LCSW, of Ozark Guidance

Thanks for your question. OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be a very troubling disorder that has both a component of obsessive thought and at times compulsive behaviors. If a person does not complete the behaviors to alleviate the thoughts, they often experience anxiety to varying degrees.

The National Institute of Mental Health gives some examples of both obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that might be helpful as you consider whether or not this applies to your life. Click here to see a list of examples from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Just because someone likes her house a certain way doesn’t mean she meets the criteria for OCD. However, when symptoms begin to impair functioning, this is often when a person will meet criteria for the diagnosis.

It sounds like your husband may feel that your cleaning preferences are impairing your functioning, but you’re not sure. My suggestion is to find a local mental health professional and have an evaluation. If they feel that you do meet the criteria for the diagnosis, there are techniques and ways they can help you work toward reducing your anxiety. They may even refer you to a psychiatrist for medication management if they feel it could be helpful.

Ozark Guidance offers licensed mental health professionals and medical staff that could help you with this kind of evaluation. Ozark Guidance is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. If your symptoms are causing you anxiety, please consider looking into treatment options. Worst case scenario? You find out you’re just very tidy!

I hope this has been helpful and best of luck to you.

Therapists at Ozark Guidance would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click here to read more questions and answers in the On Your Mind category. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback.

Disclaimer: This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.