May 19

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Listening Pointers


DIRECTIONS: You may have a problem with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) if you mark several items in the following table. If so, identify your specific worries or rituals in the questionnaire to relabel them as obsessions and compulsions.

Obsessions

Compulsions

Unpleasant thoughts that come into my mind against my will often upset me.

I usually have doubts about the simple, everyday things that I do.

I have little control over my thoughts.

I worry that my bad thoughts will come true.

When I start worrying, I can’t easily stop.

Insignificant events worry me too much.

I spend more time than most people cleaning, showering, or checking.

Other people have difficulty meeting my standards for order, cleanliness, safety, hard work, or decency.

It’s hard for me to be sure I’ve done something even when I know I’ve done it.

I repeat certain actions over and over.

People think I’m a perfectionist, a “neat freak,” a hypochondriac, superstitious, rigid, or a “pack rat.”


General Obsessions

  • I worry (with little reason) that my partner is doing something behind my back.
  • I worry too much about hurting others’ feelings or making people mad.
  • I worry too much about household noises, how things feel, or other sensations.
  • I worry about losing my wallet or unimportant objects, such as a scrap of notebook paper.
  • I worry that I won’t say things just right or use the “perfect” word.
  • I worry about always doing “the right thing” or being honest, fair, or on time.
  • I worry about salvation, having sinful thoughts, blaspheming, or other religious concerns.
  • I am superstitious that saying or doing certain things can cause bad luck.
  • I avoid “unlucky” numbers, places, or animals.
  • I worry that some part of my body is hideously ugly despite reassurance to the contrary.

Aggressive or Sexual Obsessions

  • I fear losing control with sharp objects, while driving, in high places, and in other ways.
  • I fear I will harm others or hurt babies, or I get violent images in my mind.
  • I avoid sharp or breakable objects such as knives, scissors, or glass.
  • I worry that I will blurt out or write obscenities or insults, even though I never have.
  • I worry that I might (accidentally) steal something.
  • I have unwanted sexual thoughts about strangers, family, friends, children, or others.
  • I get violent sexual images that I would never act out.
  • I worry about being a homosexual for no actual reason.

Thinking and Counting Rituals

  • I often have to repeat “good” thoughts or words to “erase” bad ones or to feel safe.
  • I often find myself praying for nonreligious reasons or have to pray “the right way.”
  • I feel the need to confess to things I never did.
  • I try to remember events in detail or make mental lists to prevent bad consequences.
  • I count floor tiles, books, nails in walls, my teeth, or other things to relieve tension.

Checking and Repeating Rituals

  • I worry that lack of due caution will cause some misfortune, such as a fire or burglary.
  • I repeatedly check locks, windows, stoves, or other things to prevent misfortunes.
  • I repeatedly search for news about any accidents caused by others or myself.
  • When driving, I stop to check that I haven’t (accidentally) hurt someone.
  • I repeatedly ask or phone others for reassurance that everything is OK, that I haven’t made them mad, that I haven’t forgotten an appointment, or for other concerns.
  • I repeat activities such as combing my hair or going in and out of doorways.
  • I make sure I’ve repeated such activities the “right” number of times.
  • I repeatedly check for mistakes while doing bookwork and worry about it later.
  • I repeatedly check my body odor or appearance to make sure I’m acceptable.

Ordering and Cleaning Rituals

  • I must have certain things around me set in a specific order or pattern.
  • I always want my papers, pens, books, collections, or closets arranged just right.
  • I spend much time putting things in the right place, and I reposition rugs, pictures, etc.
  • I notice at once if things are out of place and get upset if others have rearranged them.
  • I vacuum my house, dust, change sheets, or wash floors more than once a week.
  • I spend a lot of time cleaning such things as faucets, counters, utensils, or my collections.
  • I eat foods in a particular order for nonnutritional reasons.
  • I follow a set order during baths or grooming and start over if that order is interrupted.

Germs, Dirt, Danger, or Contamination Rituals

  • I worry about getting diseases from my own saliva, urine, feces, or other things.
  • I worry about getting contaminated or contaminating others by coming in contact with radon, radioactive materials, toxins, dirt, insects, animals, or other substances.
  • I avoid shaking hands, public restrooms, doorknobs, raw meat, cleansers, dirt, sticky substances, emptying the garbage, changing kitty litter, or other problem situations.
  • I wash my hands many times a day or for long periods of time.
  • I often take very long showers or baths and wash to decontaminate rather than to clean.

Hoarding Rituals

  • I save old newspapers, notes, cans, paper towels, napkins, wrappers, or other items.
  • I pick up useless objects from the street, garbage cans, garage sales, or other places.
  • I have difficulty throwing things away for fear I may need them some day
  • Over the years my home has become cluttered with collections (that bother others).
  • I worry excessively about saving money or food, even when I don’t need to.

Health and Illness Rituals

  • I repeatedly take my pulse, blood pressure, or temperature, or check for injuries.
  • I worry that I have (or might get) an illness despite reassurance from doctors that I’m okay.

Rate the Impact of Obsessions and Rituals on Your Life

  • How much distress do your obsessions/rituals usually cause you? (0 = none; 10 = intense)
  • How often or how much do your thoughts or rituals interfere with social or work functioning?

    ___Never ___Slightly ____Somewhat ___Frequently ___Severely

Reference

Checklist was adapted from the questionnaire in Stop Obsessing! by Edna Foa and Reid Wilson (Bantam, 1991).

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