OCD numerology or arithmomania: when you can’t stop counting

Disorder takes many forms, although they all result in acts or compulsions that end up limiting the life of the person who suffers from it, generating a state of constant anxiety. If some need to wash their hands, others have to have everything in a certain order. If some repeat words, thoughts or mental images, others become obsessed with numbers and cannot stop counting. On this occasion, we are talking about numerological OCD, which can also be called Obsessive Compulsive Numerical Disorder or arithmomania. Do you want to know more about this disorder that makes you unable to stop counting?

What is numerological OCD?

One of the most common Obsessive Compulsive Disorders is related to numbers. People who suffer from it cannot avoid counting numbers, objects, words or even repeating actions a certain number of times. Numerological OCD (or arithmomania) sometimes comes accompanied by another OCD, as in the case of cleaning or contamination OCD in which the person has to, for example, wash their hands 5 times in a row.

This number mess works like any other TOC. An uncomfortable thought invades you and becomes an obsession. Then the anxiety is triggered and the only way to stop that anxiety is through a compulsion. If you have ever heard that it is better to count to 10 before jumping into an argument, it is because while you are counting you find some relief or relaxation. But numerological OCD or arithmomania goes further.

How obsessive-compulsive numerical disorder manifests itself?

Arithmomania has many different ways of manifesting itself. Some people have to count to 100 before answering a question, others have to count all the steps they go up, others have to count certain numbers for each word they say or read. Can you imagine to what extent this Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can limit your life?

Counting or repeating an action a certain number of times are the only way that person finds to calm the anxiety produced by the obsession. It, it is a disorder that prevents you from leading a functional life. In some cases, arithmomania is complicated to the point of the need to perform arithmetic operations in all areas of life, such as repeating things a number of times that is a multiple of a certain number. And that is not within everyone’s reach.

It is more affordable to avoid some specific numbers and that has nothing to do with the usual superstition as in the case of 13 or 666. Imagine starting the day, as soon as you wake up, counting 5 times to 10, as if doing series of numbers. Because if you don’t, the day is going to turn into a hell of anxiety and security.

Causes and consequences of arithmomania

What can cause this obsessive compulsive numerical disorder? We talk about both causes and consequences. You can’t always find a specific cause for OCD, but since it belongs, it’s normal to start looking for help in that regard. The possibility that the origin is found in a genetic disposition or even in a traumatic experience has also been considered.

More evident than the origin is the consequence or consequences of suffering an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We already know how a person’s life can be devastated by Accumulation, for example, whose squeal is very similar to Diogenes Syndrome. But in any case, carrying out a repeated action at any time and in any place will obviously cause everything from work problems to social isolation.

Numerological OCD is not compatible with a functional life and, after all, we live in society and we need to work to survive. Counting to 50 every time you write a word, for example, will prevent you from carrying out your work normally, whatever your profession.  Or avoiding odd numbers in your life, which is another of the most frequent compulsions of number disorder, will also prevent you from leading a healthy work, social, and family life.

A famous case of numerological OCD

Luckily, there is more and more talk about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This is a point in favor for all people who suffer from a mental disorder or a mood disorder, since making the problem visible reduces the taboo and misunderstanding that is generated around them and increases the chances of receiving help on time.

And it is not that it solves anything to know that there are more people in this delicate situation, but it does provide some comfort to know about some cases of OCD. In the case of numerical disorder, we know that the famous inventor Nikola Tesla suffered from it.  His obsession of him was related to multiples and his entire life was organized based on that arithmetic operation.

In this way, his favorite hotel room was 207. It is also said that he asked for 18 towels a day or that he had to have 18 napkins on his table. And when he left home, he would go around the block 3 times before starting on his way. It’s not that 3 was his lucky number or talisman from him, it’s that it was his obsession from him and his compulsion from him due to the OCD he suffered from.

Treatment of numerological OCD or arithmomania

Numerological OCD has treatment, of course. In many cases, the use of drugs such as antidepressants is recommended, but in all cases psychological treatment will be needed.  The chosen therapy will vary depending on the needs of that person, the type of OCD and also the degree of the OCD, that is, in what way it has already affected their life.

As Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is part of the crueler face of anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a good way to initially deal with the problem. How does this therapy work? It works at the same pace as the disorder, that is, it first deals with irrational, disassembling them and replacing them with more objective and realistic thoughts.

By transforming the thought, the obsession is reduced or even disappears, so that the behavior or compulsion is no longer necessary. Logically, this process takes a while; it is not possible to overcome an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder overnight. And it also has to be accompanied by other therapies or techniques.

One of the most widely used is gradual exposure therapy. In it, the person is confronted with the situation of stopping the compulsion. At first, it is done with simple situations, because stop counting or stop doing things according to numerical sequences is not easy.  After all, it is what provides to that person.

The patient is asked to stop counting only once a day, for example, to check that nothing happens, that his life does not fall apart once he does not count to 33, especially knowing that the rest of the time he will be able to do SW. . We insist that this process has to be done by a professional, what we are pointing out here are just hints of what a therapy or treatment for OCD can be.

But it is not something we can do on our own. If you think you suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Numerology Disorder, put and you will be able to recover normality in your life.

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