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A Life Coaching client asked me recently, “How can you tell if someone is passionate or just obsessive?”

This is not an easy question to answer, because some people live on the border between the two.

For me, a person with passion is hyper-focused on a vision, experience, or a goal and commits their thoughts, words, and deeds to the fulfillment of these.

 In English, the phrase obsessive-compulsive is often used in an informal manner unrelated to OCD to describe someone who is excessively meticulous, perfectionistic, absorbed, or otherwise fixated.

On a more extreme level, obsession, as in Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), is a mental disorder where people feel the need to check things repeatedly, perform certain routines repeatedly (called “rituals”), or have certain thoughts repeatedly (called “obsessions”).  People are unable to control either the thoughts or the activities for more than a short period of time. Common activities include hand washing, counting of things, and checking to see if a door is locked, or engaging in exercise to the extreme.  Some may have difficulty throwing things out. These activities occur to such a degree that the person’s daily life is negatively affected. This often takes up more than an hour a day. Most adults realize that the behaviors do not make sense. The condition is associated with ticsanxiety disorder, and an increased risk of suicide.

Within the mental health professions, the cause is unknown. There appear to be some genetic components with both identical twins more often affected than both non-identical twins. Of course, a person’s emotional history can offer many clues to the source of the problem. Risk factors include a history of child abuse or other stress-inducing events.

There may be unexpected subtle causes as well. For instance, some cases have been documented to occur following infections. The diagnosis is based on the symptoms and requires ruling out other drug related or medical causes. Rating scales such as the Yale–Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) can be used to assess the severity.  Other disorders with similar symptoms include anxiety disorder, major depressive disordereating disorderstic disorders, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Treatment involves counseling, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), working with a specially trained Life or Wellness Coach.

In extreme situation medication, typically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been shown to reduce these patterns.

CBT for OCD involves increasing exposure to what causes the problems while not allowing the repetitive behavior to occur.

If an individual is working with a physician and choose to take the medical route they need to keep in mind that these drugs usually have side effects.  While clomipramine appears to work as well as SSRIs, it has greater side effects.  Atypical antipsychotics may be useful when used in addition to an SSRI in treatment-resistant cases but are also associated with an increased risk of side effects. Without treatment, the condition often lasts decades so the client/patient and their support team must explore the cost of medical intervention versus the challenge of living with the challenge

Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects about 2.3% of people at some point in their life.  Rates during a given year are about 1.2%, and it occurs worldwide. It is unusual for symptoms to begin after the age of 35, and half of the people develop problems before 20. Males and females are affected about equally.

Here is a video that combines the theater arts and OCD



Lewis Harrison is the director of the professional Coaching Training Program at the International Association of Healing Professionals

He is  founder of the RealUGuru Project Think Tank is a is a life coach, peak performance expert, writer, mentor, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.

Don’t forget to tune to the RealUGuru Radio show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc.

If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to study with Lewis Harrison. Begin by reading  Lewis’ books.

If you are an entrepreneur you will want to begin with his books on game theory and business success.  Here are two basic ones to start with:



The offerings on RealUGuru.com focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;




This blog is sponsored by the New York City Chair Massage Company at  www.eventschairmassage.com, supplying stress management services to event and meeting planners for trade shows throughout the United States 

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