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Obsessive Research Assistant

Question:

I am a research assistant working in a laboratory. It seems to me that the recent few months i have been obsessed with a specific project at work (which is occupied by other member of the lab, therefore it is non-sense for me to ask to work on this project). The ideas of involving into this project come up to my mind often. I talked with my boss many times concerning working on that project but get rejected every time. Our talks always end up with little verbal fights. During this fights, i had experienced a lot of frustration and humiliation. Then I started also to sabotage other peoples’ experiments at night (regularly), and i just could not control myself from the sabotage. The situation gets worse when there is a trigger specifically related to the project e.g., if i hear/see someone is doing an experiment on this project. Can this be an obsession/compulsion disorder? I felt guilty of committing the act and wanted to stop, but just could not control. Since the situation gets more and more serious, i quit my job. I am afraid to do the same in my next job, so i did not try to find one yet. In case, this situation brings me to criminal justice, will I need to take the criminal responsibility according to European law? Additional information, I somehow feel that i have the tendency of ocd because there were times in my life i needed to check whether my door was locked several times before leaving my house. But i never seen a psychologist regarding this situation because I overcome it by consciously telling myself that i had the key and locked the door when i left my house. It was never serious. The sense of feeling perfection is also important for me. The other thing is I am also a typical workaholic. Can ocd be triggered by stress/anger/or other specific situations? Do I suffer from ocd or impulse control disorder? can it be both or any other mental disorder? thank you very much in advance for your answer.

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Answer:

To answer your direct question, yes, absolutely, obsessions and compulsions are responsive to stress, and get worse when you are stressed. That is why OCD is considered an anxiety disorder.

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p> It sounds to me like you’ve got obsessional issues and (passive-aggressive) anger management issues too. As to whether you merit a diagnosis of OCD, only a local doctor could say. That doctor might consider the diagnosis of OCPD (obsessive compulsive personality disorder) as well as OCD or an impulse control disorder, because there is at least a flavor of OCPD in your description. I think it is time for you to see a psychiatrist for a formal diagnosis. It is good that you’ve been able in the past to overcome your checking and perfectionism without need of other aids, but that time seems to be over. Your ability to function in occupational settings has been compromised, and you rightly fear that legal and other problems may occur if you continue to be unable to control your urge towards sabotage. Much better if you enlist the aid of a doctor to get your urges under self-control. There are medications that are helpful for obsessional and impulse problems. They aren’t perfect by any means, but they are much better than nothing when you are otherwise self-destructing. Regular psychotherapy to address your passive-aggressive anger and perfectionism might be helpful to you as well. Exercise and relaxation oriented pursuits such as sports or yoga or meditation are also likely to be of some assistance, and some of these (I’m thinking about my personal experience with Iyengar Yoga) offer a precise exercise system which might appeal to your perfectionistic nature while helping you to calm yourself.

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