Extreme OCD

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by 63dot, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #1
    ...or just "Rain Man" variety autism?

    One of my friends has a weird quirk where every single bill he gets he has to pay in person, including those that are thousands of miles away. Yes, he's autistic (HFA) but I also suspect some OCD in there, too.

    While doing clinical hours at a "facility" (can't say more than that), I have seen some interesting behavior but this still takes the cake. Yeah it's weird when somebody has dementia and they think they are riding a horse which is a wheelchair or even think they are the horse but their diagnosis explains their behavior. But with my friend, there's nothing I have come across similar to this and he's also my friend so it's much more troubling to see weird stuff.

    It's one thing to pay electric and gas bill in same city or nearby cities, or pay dentist and doctor at time of visit, but to drive a few hundred miles to franchise tax board headquarters and east coast for taxes is a bit over the top. For some reason he doesn't "feel" people will get his money unless he personally hands it to them in cash or check. But he will never pay anything through the mail or online. If he can't get the time to make the trip, he defaults on the bill and it's as if he never had such a bill. If he doesn't pay a long distance bill, it's bad enough but when he drives, it's not always sober and anti-autism medication, whatever he has been given, makes him feel weird and doesn't do the same good as a few stiff drinks. That's something we have all seen to the detriment of many.

    This would be weird enough and could be chalked up to somebody who is careful about his money or his identity. You could see that he will never throw away plastic food wrappers if they don't have holes in them, and always wants to keep around any bottles or containers if they can at all be reused. His house smells worse than the local dump. OK, but he has a massive alcohol collecting hobby that is out of proportion with his income as well as a very costly day trading hobby/obsession. Though financial analysts can't crack the stock market on high risk trades, he continues to blow money there like a junkie. So saving money is not the major motivator here.

    The good part is that it doesn't affect anybody except his wife, but all this weird behavior causes a lot of personal stress. He could tell you that if somebody did what he did, he would call it impractical and stupid but he can't seem to control his own behavior. Just like the person smokes three packs of cigarettes a day yet knows it's bad and forbids his kids to smoke, this whole situation is a tough nut to crack.
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #2
    My daughter has higher functioning Autism.
    The problem you have is your trying to rationalise their behaviour with your normal brain.
    They are just differently wired. If it doesn't feel right to pay by direct debit, it doesn't feel right.
     
  3. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #3
    I do get concerned when he has six drinks (or more, way more) and hits the road right after killing last drink, and then goes non-stop for 500 miles. It may not make sense to my normal brain (or NT as he calls me) but this is when I consider it crossing the line.

    However, he has driven very drunk for decades and has not hurt himself or others so some say it's OK because he drives very well drunk. Some people take strong psych meds and they never crash or even get a speeding ticket. It still bugs me though.
     
  4. waynerbbx macrumors member

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    #4
    Um, driving drunk is illegal... in case he doesnt know... I'm sorry about his problem, but that is not safe
     
  5. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

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    #5
    Funny how all Aspies are different. My daughter is horrified if I have a beer, and will always ask if I'm drunk (even if I have just one). She is also horrified if anybody brakes a rule like drink driving too.
    Just because your friend hasn't ever hurt anyone, doesn't mean he won't in the future.
     
  6. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #6
    Though I am just a student, I have brought this up to a working counselor and he said while autism does not always equal alcoholism (he too is an alcoholic in recovery, but not autistic), there's a very strong correlation. But that also exists with depression and drinking and genetics and drinking. But he mentioned it's not too uncommon to alleviate socially awkward situations with alcohol. It's less painful but behind the wheel, it's downright dangerous.

    I am glad that society is starting to get smarter about the role of alcohol in car crashes and that because it's legal to drink, it's not to drink and drive. I never remember designated driver commercials when I was a teen, but now all of society knows what that is. Whatever the reason people drink, and I assume getting over socially awkward behavior as one that probably ranks high, there are ways to get around without driving drunk.

    Every year we meet up with autistic friend but have convinced him to have parties at his house where he doesn't have to drink and drive. It's been a yearly thing and there's no doubt that autism isn't easy and in a way I understand why some people think it's OK to drink. When you get used to being drunk as much as you are sober then driving just seems to be something that happens and before you know it you have a whole truckload of DUI tickets. It's a little harder of late in cali to get away with it but in years past people just treated a DUI like a very minor offence.
     
  7. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

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    #7
    I think I'd have to disagree with your councillor friend. I know a lot of people with autism, and none of them are alcoholic. I think this might be more to do with his own past. As I have undertaken some councillor training in the past, one of the first things they teach you is not to let your own experiences cloud your counciling. This sounds like why your councillor believes there to be a link between alcoholism and autism. I should point out I've never read about that either.
     
  8. 63dot, Dec 17, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014

    63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #8
    There is a well known fact that there is a correlation so no argument there. I don't even think that increased alcohol usage as a coping mechanism is even a debate, but as to how much extra drinking, that's a different topic that may need more study.

    Google or Bing will show you that from a million points of view. But if you are thinking that he may see things from his perspective as an alcoholic, yes that's probably true and there's a lot written on that, too. I don't doubt what you say on that.

    His training is on the job and I am getting my training from a college background. But either way, certain things like HFA, depression, bipolar, and even genetic factors do have undeniable correlations between the illness and alcoholism.

    But does HFA cause alcoholism? No, no more than poverty, close by bar or mini mart, or "stress". But certain issues or conditions make alcoholism more likely.

    That being said you could have alcoholic parents, siblings, grandparents, and own a liquor store downstairs from your apartment and not have a desire to drink a drop. Actually I have a friend that is one such person.

    Due to some of the possibly bad side effects of certain medications treating things like bipolar, OCD, panic attacks, or HFA, some people who are suffering from a condition take it upon themselves to self-medicate and may see alcohol as an inexpensive and seemingly more effective coping mechanism. I have heard some who think the answer is medical marijuana, or meditation, or 12 step, or religion and there are as many points of view for coping as there are people who suffer. Personally I don't think alcohol is a good coping mechanism but that's my point of view. I have met medical doctors who think that a drink a night is good for a lot of things and while not taken well as advice in 2014, it was more than accepted a couple of generations ago.

    I don't have all the answers but from many points of view and studies, there is a wide array of work showing that people with HFA (and other issues like bipolar and depression) use and have used alcohol as a coping mechanism quite a bit more than the general public as a whole in alcohol usage.
     
  9. haxrnick macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I was actually just asking this sort of question to my wife the other day. She's been a special needs teacher for 7 years and now the district's director. I asked what would happen if one of her students, grown up obviously, was to get drunk. Would it make them more "normal"? She honestly didn't know so it was interesting reading this.
     
  10. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

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    #10
    There are two big sides at war in the human services community right now. One side wants to help those who are suffering from things like HFA, bipolar, and the big one, ADHD. But if you "fix" or "medicate" these people, don't you also take away what makes them unique? Some of the most genius contributions to society came from those who were mentally ill or simply wired differently. We all suffer as human beings so who is to say someone with bipolar disorder is any less happy than you or me? Who is to say that ADHD i bad when such a person may be a creative genius but then be reduced to mediocrity on medication? But then there's the other side when looking at the stats on these conditions and broken relationships, substance abuse, and suicide. Should we work harder to reduce, let's say suicide, if that means dulling a creative, passionate person of their life's work? Where would we be in the art world had Van Gogh been treated or cured (if possible) of what troubled him? Isn't the greatest art of this man from periods where he was most dysfunctional in normal society?

    The debate continues and both sides have excellent arguments for treating versus leaving alone.
     
  11. haxrnick macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Yeah, it just completely blows me away thinking about stuff like this. Like recently my dad found out he had a bacteria in his brain causing him to have an aneurysm. After surgery the doctor said my mom should be a widow and my dad will be written up in some medical book or something. At times it's like he's a kid and just doesn't get things at all. In time, it comes back and I've seen huge strides by him.

    That's why I was asking my wife about this. Because the way alcohol makes a "normal" person different, I wondered would it make someone with say, autism, "normal"? The kids in my wife's classes in the past were all over the spectrum and there were a few that I had no idea had anything wrong with them. After seeing some of the kids and hearing how they're testing she was saying almost anyone who takes the test these days would be considered somewhere on the spectrum.
     
  12. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #12
    When you watch a show like Big Bang Theory, there's a character who plays a brilliant PhD named Raj from India who is so socially awkward around women that he literally can't talk to them unless he drinks. While this seems extreme, my very good friend is almost mute (not totally, but 90% percent and very, very awkward if he does speak) unless he has some alcohol. When he drinks you can't detect the awkwardness but the alcohol, if done too far as is often the case, causes a whole host of other problems.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY-retcjET0#t=11



    Accurately in the comedy show, when Raj drinks some, he does become quite a bit more normal from his awkward self, but to add comic relief it shows what happens to him when he has too much to drink. And when anybody has too much to drink, mentally disabled or not, neurotypical or not, bad things can happen. Of course the show is written so brilliantly that it's funny to watch Raj and his experiments with alcohol curing his shyness/awkwardness, but in real life these things aren't funny.
     
  13. MacNut macrumors Core

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    #13
    I tink TBBT main characters are written perfectly. There is a lot of truth in the comedy they portray. Super geniuses that are painfully awkward in real world situations.

    I asked my doctor at my last physical about treating my OCD, and she said the medication might make my critical thinking worse and if I could live with it to just learn to work around it. I have learned how to harness my OCD when in fast paced environments to actually help me.
     
  14. 63dot, Dec 18, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014

    63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #14
    This is that two edged sword. There's no doubt some of the greatest inventions and ideas are spawned from mental illness/disability, but how much does a therapist allow a person to suffer?

    When my friend takes medications, he doesn't drink. But when off meds, like a lot of people off meds, they turn to the easy fix of alcohol. He's rarely sober off meds and the thousands of miles he puts behind the wheel is not a good thing. My wife has known him for almost two decades but never has she seen him sober. He is that guy Raj in so many ways with the brilliant mind, PhD, but inability to function without psychological meds or alcohol. He chooses alcohol. He's a cross between Raj and Kim Peek, a famous genius with near photographic memory but even Raj or Kim are more socially comfortable.

    But the minute he gets on meds, he will drop alcohol and have absolutely no compulsion to drink and no physical symptoms of withdrawal. I don't know if I can honestly say such a person is an alcoholic. According to 12 step if it affects his life, then it's alcoholism. His job on a military base lets him go all the times they catch him and hide it as that's their jurisdiction. But if he ever gets caught by a real cop off base then he will have to answer to the court. We also have a university where the school cops are extremely lenient on students who are out partying too hard. Instead of incarceration, the cops simply drive kids back to dorm. It's such a small, small town that these people know each other, and dare I say socially interact with each other. I am sure many here know similar things.

    It's just that when he does medicate with meds, he tends to drool a lot and seem kind of stoned. I actually thought he was a homeless alcoholic when I first met him in this medicated stage. Thorazine, clonopin, prozac, even ritalin are different things that are attempted with varying results. Oddly, when on alcohol, he seems way more sober but heavy drinkers can hide it well as we all know.

    By no means is this a justification for his drinking, but it does explain why he thinks it's OK. It's not OK. But I would rather drive with him after five drinks than be in the car with a teenage girl texting with her BFF.

    I get extremely miffed from those who are against all therapy or meds and who believe, "because God made them that way, they should live to their creative, unique potential of a spiritual being taking in all the nectar from the muses" all and other such religious and/or new age bulldung. They are simply wired differently, but tell that to all the people who suffer from these conditions. It's odd that when a person is bleeding profusely the doctor/nurse treats them, but when somebody is off in outer space because they are an HFA genius, then it's OK. WTF. Now if a person is an adult and they refuse treatment for OCD, ADHD, bipolar, HFA, or schizophrenia, then that's their prerogative, but it's never correct to say all treatment is bad in all cases. But I have never met any two psych/med students or practitioners agree on just what should be treated and what should be left alone.

    Among the local human services students, some who are working towards their master's/PhD in psychology tend to be less pro-medication for HFA but the pre-med students in class working towards being a nurse or physician are more on the pro-med side. Within the hospital you will find different courses of treatment and one size doesn't fit all.

    A big voice against treating ADHD was Dr. Dean Edell, America's Doctor on ABC radio, and he is often quoted, or misquoted, as being against all psychiatric meds. His own claim of being hyperactive led to his energy it took to becoming a doctor. You simply can't lay back and become and MD and that's a field for a proactive person.
     
  15. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    My girlfriend is OCD about cleaning. That means I don't ever have to do the toilets and I'm OK with that. Sometimes I leave a smudge on her bathroom mirror just to watch her walk in after me and scrub it off.

    Does that make me a bad person? :D
     
  16. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #16
    All my political correctness and trying to appease the physician/psychologist war (on psych meds) aside, tell her I have smudges all over my house! ;)
     
  17. MacNut macrumors Core

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    #17
    In some ways the medication is worse than the illness. If a person can survive and function without it I think that is the better solution. Of course there are some people that need the medication or things get really bad. The issues is finding the right pill cocktail to get everything normal. Do you want a person about to do harm to themselves or a person so doped up they are comatose. There is no easy answer.
     
  18. Xiroteus macrumors 65816

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    #18
    There is a great lack in logic where defaulting on a bill makes more since then *risking* a mail or online payment that you can check on rather quickly.

    I've dealt with enough lack of logic that the thought of such things just annoys me.
     
  19. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #19
    When I try to explain these things to my friend, as well as his drunk driving, he doesn't see it that way. The world view from somebody who has autism can be quite different and in some cases, it's acceptable and doesn't hurt anybody but when it falls into the very common region of unrestricted self medication, then I draw a line.

    I tried an intervention and everybody initially with me pulled out on me and I was the villain. Why pick on a poor autistic drunkard? He hasn't hurt anybody, so leave him alone. Nobody saw that it was possible he could hurt somebody in the future and they figured if he went that long without incident. After that awful incident I truly believe interventions are for other fools if not properly trained in the practice.

    My further studies years later showed that interventions are usually more effective with professionals, not simply well meaning individuals. They generally don't work when denial is the way everyone works in society. For that reason and others, there is a whole field of psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors because it's not that easy.

    You will always find somebody who says that since their autistic child or spouse NEVER touches alcohol to self-medicate, and thus there is NO connection between the two.
     

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