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Counting and Numbers


Counting is an obsession and is part of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.


People with this obsession can be compelled to count just about anything.  Counting steps is possibly the most common form of counting – counting steps up or down stairs, counting steps from one location to another such as table to stove, counting steps to school or back.


Counting objects is also popular – bananas on the counter, wheels on trucks, lines on the highway.


People who have a compulsion to repeat movements such as checking to see that the stove has been turned off will often repeat these movements a certain number of times and count the movements.  People will have favourite numbers such as 5 or seven that will be the number of times they will have to repeat movements.  Sometimes these movements will be completed a number of times in sets – touching the door knob quickly 3 times, pausing for a second, repeating the touching 3 times, pausing again and repeating the 3 touches.  That pattern makes up 3 sets of 3 – other people may do 5 sets of 7 or 3 sets of 9, the combinations are almost unlimited.


Counting may be done out loud or silently.


Sometimes the counting must be started again from the beginning if it is interrupted.



For more information see:


To Count or Not to Count by Ray Robertson, TSFC London Chapter’s newsletter, February 2008.


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