Psychiatry & Psychology--General/help understand man

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Hi there Allen, little bit about myself. I suffer from an anxiety disorder. I've had this weird habit, thing... I don't know,since childhood. I still have it now. Since childhood I used to collect stuff. For example, now I am obsessed by basketball, I don't feel comfortable talking about it unless I have something about it. Like I print photo of a basketball and now I can talk about it. I must have illustrations or something about the subject. I had it like this for years. Like, for example, if I were to watch a movie about psychologist, I should then go and review a book were there is an illustration of like a psychologist or something. Like I mean, for example, my brother had a notebook of an NBA team he was throwing out. I took it, I know I'm never gonna use it for writing, but I keep it safe with me because I feel comfortable when talking, watching basketball, since it has NBA logo on it. This has been going since I can remember myself. In childhood, when I couldn't get a topic of my obsession, I would draw it and keep it. This is weird. But hopefully you could at least help me understand what this is. Please give me an option for few follow ups, since I think it is pretty hard to understand this. Thanks

Answer
Dennis, it's like your saying you suffer from eating oranges.  What you describe is not only normal but generally considered common and desirable. The issue is extent and consequences -- whether you don't feel comfortable starting your day until you've had your orange, or you feel you can't breathe until you've eaten a dozen of them.

If your collection habits don't bother you or interfere with your life, I'd say enjoy your deep interests. Otherwise, I'd suggest you talk with a mental-health professional such as a clinical psychologist.

And I would be concerned less with searching for an understanding than finding a strategy to cope with any troubling aspects. That is what these clinicians are trained to work with you on.

I thank you for asking us, and am sorry I can't be more definitive without knowing more about the extent. I hope my comments were helpful, and if not, that you'll send a follow-up.

Alan  

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Alan Auerbach

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Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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