The first time that I went to my friend, Jason's house I noticed that this 25 year old bachelor was excessively neat. I thought this was quite an unusual quality for a single, busy guy, but took it at face value as I didn't know anything about psychological disorders at the time. As our friendship grew and we spent more time together, I started to notice more "strange" behaviors, especially revolving around cleaning at first. No matter what time of day or night I visited my friend, everything in his apartment was spotless. And I mean everything! Every drawer was organized with every item of clothing facing the exact same direction. Every Item hung in his closet was color coded with all the black shirts perfectly ironed (by him) and hung together and every other color of shirt or pants only hung with other items of like color and style. There was never a glass on the kitchen counter or a dish in the sink. The coffee table had all the magazines organized in alphabetical order and all edges lined up together. The refrigerator had all food items facing a certain direction and positioned on the shelf precisely. If you happened to pick up a magazine, then replace it on the stack, he would reposition the magazine as it had been before you picked it up. If you took your jacket off, and just sort of placed it over the back of a chair, Jason would immediately hang it up, in a color coded way of course. I started to think that this guy was just excessively neat, but always felt uncomfortable because I didn't want to mess anything up in his place. Whenever we sat down at a table in a restaurant he would straighten out the condiments aligning the salt and pepper shakers and also, position his napkin and fork just so. He had a lot of good qualities so I overlooked this annoying behavior and tried to concentrate on his positive attributes. As we grew closer and talked more on the phone, I would often ask "What are you doing!" He inevitably answered, "Cleaning!" I usually had the same response, "Oh, I thought you cleaned everything yesterday." "I did, but just noticed I missed a couple of spot." This repartee went on almost daily. When Jason felt closer to me, he began to confide in me that he was having a hard time concentrating and found himself not accomplishing much each day ( he had recently lost his job) because he found himself getting caught up in making extensive "to do" lists. He said that he felt compelled to make these lists because he wanted to make sure that he got things done "the right way." In the textbook Abnormal Psychology An Integrative Approach, they describe obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: "People who have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are characterized by a fixation on things being done "the right way." and "...this preoccupation with details prevents them from actually completing much of anything." After listening to Dr. Mays lecture on this disorder and reading the book, I began to understand my friend's problems a little better. The diagnostic criteria for obsessive-compulsive personality disorder included what I felt were many of Jason's complaints, including: 1.Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost. This particular criteria very well fit Jason and was getting in the way of him leading a peaceful life. 2.Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because of his own overly strict standards are not met). This is the reason Jason had lost his job! Even though he was utilizing his organization skills at work, his boss felt he was not completing his projects in a timely manner. 3.Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships ( not accounted for by obvious economic necessity). Yes, this makes sense he told me he didn't feel able to spend time having fun and also,...
Cited: Abnormal Psychology, An Integrative Approach, David H. Barlow, V. Mark Durand
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