Question for obsessive compulsive Dopers

I have just seen the movie Matchstick Men in which Nic Cage’s character is obsessive compulsive. The presentation of his traits in the movie is very well done but…

As a psychiatric nurse I cared for a very few obsessive compulsive patients. They were at the worst end of things, totally unable to function and requiring hospitalisation. Behaviours ranged from washing hands 10 times an hour to taking an hour to go through a doorway. I have had a few friends who to varying degrees you could class as obsessive or maybe anal. They are prissy and cleaner than the rest of us and worry about cleanliness and hygene.

Now none of these people smoked or even tolerated others smoking very much. Cage’s character virtually chain smokes and I can’t for the life of me associate that with obsessive behaviour, I used to smoke and it’s an inherently messy habit.

Does anyone know either by fact or anecdote whether smoking is a common activity for obsessive compulsive individuals? I know I’ll get the correct answer here so thanks in advance.

This is towards the far end of the anecode spectrum, but in David Sedaris’ book of short autobiographical-ish essays, Naked he tells several stories from his childhood involving obsessive-compulsive behavior and how becoming a smoker eased his compulsions. Obviously he doesn’t go into the psychiatric details of it, but, IIRC, he mentions that it gave him something to do with his hands, and that he felt as if the nicotine relaxed him.

I’m mildly obsessive-compulsive myself, and am a smoker. I find myself having near-zero O-C thoughts or mannerisms when smoking. I may just have exceptionally little brainpower and the mechanics of smoking a cigarette stretch my tolerance, though.

don’t ask - your post has made me realise something I had never recognised before … I’m obsessive compulsive about smoking!

Everything I do has to start and end with a cigarette. Eating a meal … I have to smoke right up to the first mouthful, and then light up again after the last. Opening my mail … I collect it from the mat, smoke a cigarette, open it and deal wih it, smoke another cigarette. Going to bed … I have to sit on the side of the bed and smoke a cigarette before I lie down, then when I wake up I have to sit on the side of the bed and smoke a cigarette before I get up. Watching a film - I have to smoke immediately before and after the film, but can happily go a coupla hours during the film without smoking!

And so on, ad infinitum. If this “ritual” is broken I feel edgy and uneasy …

The only thing which breaks this pattern is when I’m online - then I just chainsmoke all the time. :eek:

Weird or what?


I am obsessive compulsive, but I am NOT a smoker.

However-not all OCD sufferors are obsessed with hygiene and handwashing. It’s just the one most commonly used to illustrate what OCD is about.

I have been an OCD sufferer for most of my life.

My OCD mainly manifest itself with cleanliness issue’s

Asbestos, broken glass, and chemicals are my worst fears as well as AIDS and any kind of bacteria.

I smoked cigs and weed from age 14-January 31, 2003(age 27), That was the day my wife and I found out we were having a baby and the last time either of us smoked anything.

Smoking never bothered me…now I think it is gross!.