What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Just Right OCD?

Most people know someone they would consider perfectionists and may even refer to them as "OCD."  Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a serious mental disorder that can create major disruptions in a person's everyday life.

While some people prefer to have their environment feel just right or have their nails look exactly symmetrical, people with just right OCD experience extreme distress when they cannot adjust themselves or their environment in a way that makes it feel "just right" for them. 

Learn more about what just right OCD is, how it is diagnosed, treatment options, and more. 

Have you considered clinical trials for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What is just right OCD?

Regular OCD is characterized by obsessive thoughts, typically about fears. Those thoughts then lead to compulsive or ritualistic behaviors, including tapping or blinking, counting, checking, and more. 

Just right OCD, also known as perfectionism OCD, is a subtype of classic OCD. It involves a person experiencing unwanted and intrusive thoughts and displaying actions regarding extreme organization or order, symmetry, and feeling "just right" with themselves or their environment.

Many people with just the right OCD feel that there is something off, which they may fear can lead to something terrible happening. 

Are you born with OCD?

One common question that arises whenever OCD is discussed is whether a person is born with OCD or not. OCD does seem to have some biological elements, as it appears to be linked to genetic factors.

A person with OCD is approximately four times more likely to have a family member with OCD than those who don't have it. At the same time, this could also mean that people raised in similar environments may be more likely to suffer from OCD due to the influence of learned behaviors.

Research currently suggests that OCD may be attributed to genetic factors,¹ chemical imbalances in the brain,², or faulty brain circuitry.³ Still, researchers don't yet understand how these factors relate to the actual mechanisms of OCD.

Most experts agree that a combination of factors, including genetics, environment, and brain abnormalities, may play a role in the development of OCD, but more research is needed before we can know for sure. 

How is OCD diagnosed?

It can be difficult to obtain an OCD diagnosis, as its signs and symptoms may be similar to other psychiatric disorders. In addition, many people who have OCD also have other disorders at the same time.

Typically, OCD is diagnosed after your doctor reviews your symptoms and gives you a physical exam to rule out other medical reasons for your symptoms. They may refer you to a specialist for more testing and specific treatment options, including a therapist or psychiatrist. 

Can OCD be treated?

Even though OCD can feel very isolating and lead to hardships in everyday life, OCD can be treated. It can take some time to feel better and overcome fears or impulses, but the following treatment can have a lasting impact on symptoms:

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that involves talking with a trained therapist or counselor. The therapist may ask you questions about your symptoms and how they impact your life, which may lead you to figure out when your symptoms started and why they may have come about.

You and your therapist may also develop coping strategies that can help you redirect your thoughts when you notice yourself stuck in a negative spiral. 

CBT may also integrate exposure and response prevention (ERP), which involves facing your fears or obsessions in a gradual and controlled manner. This can be difficult and uncomfortable initially, but you can eventually overcome your fears or obsessions with this treatment strategy. 

Support groups

Unless you have experienced OCD for yourself, it is difficult to truly understand what those with the condition go through on a daily basis. Support groups give people with OCD a chance to connect with others struggling with obsessive thoughts and compulsions. This can allow them to talk about their experiences and share coping strategies.

Your doctor or therapist may know of a local support group, or you can find one online.⁴ Support groups may not be enough to treat OCD on their own, but they can be helpful when combined with other treatment options. 


Your doctor may also recommend medications for OCD, and they will most likely start with an antidepressant, including sertraline or fluoxetine. Antidepressants can be effective in helping to control both obsessions and compulsions, which may be necessary before starting CBT if symptoms are extreme.

Not everyone will respond well to the first medications and doses they try, so it may take several months before you and your doctor figure out the best combination for you. 

When to see a doctor

If you believe you have OCD in any form, it may be helpful to speak with your doctor. This is especially true if you find yourself having a harder time keeping up with work and school, maintaining relationships due to your symptoms, or if you feel that you are experiencing poor quality of life.

It can be intimidating to see a doctor about OCD symptoms, but earlier treatment can help prevent your symptoms from worsening and allow you to start recovering sooner. 

The lowdown

If you tend to be a bit of a perfectionist in the workplace or at home but don't engage in ritualistic or compulsive behaviors to cope, you may not have just the right OCD. Instead, you may be experiencing generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which can be difficult to differentiate from OCD but may still warrant a visit to the doctor.

On the other hand, if objects out of place make you feel extreme stress, if you have unwanted thoughts or fears, or if you constantly feel that something just isn't right, it might be helpful to see a doctor and ask about OCD.

Have you considered clinical trials for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

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