Obsessiveness or OCD? How to Tell the Difference

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m so OCD,” to describe a strong desire for neatness? Despite what stereotypes might suggest that is not a sign of obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD).

OCD is more than a desire to a keep a clean house, maintain a schedule, or read everything you can about a favorite celebrity. It’s a chronic and long-lasting mental health condition marked by uncontrollable recurring thoughts or behaviors that must be repeated over and over in order to quell extreme anxiety.

Left untreated, OCD can significantly impact every area of one’s life from school to work to relationships to one’s ability to participate in everyday activities. It can even confine people to their homes for fear they may not be able to perform their rituals or manage their symptoms in other ways.

In other words, there are big differences between simply being obsessive and having OCD — and while both involve obsessive thinking, that’s where the similarities end.