What is Symmetry Disorder?
Symmetry disorder, also known as symmetry obsession or symmetry-related obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), is a psychological condition characterized by an excessive preoccupation with symmetry, balance, and order. Individuals with this disorder have an overwhelming need for things to be arranged symmetrically or in a specific pattern. They may spend excessive amounts of time and energy organizing and rearranging objects to achieve perfect symmetry.
Symmetry disorder falls under the broader category of OCD, which is a mental health disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors that individuals feel compelled to perform. OCD affects approximately 2% of the population, and symmetry disorder is one specific manifestation of this disorder.
People with symmetry disorder often experience distress and anxiety when things are not arranged symmetrically or in a specific order. They may feel a strong urge to rearrange objects, align them perfectly, or make sure that everything is evenly balanced. This preoccupation with symmetry can interfere with daily functioning and cause significant distress.
The symptoms of symmetry disorder can vary in severity and may include:
1. Excessive need for symmetry: Individuals with symmetry disorder have an intense need for things to be symmetrical and balanced. They may feel uncomfortable or distressed when objects are not arranged in a specific way.
2. Compulsive rearranging: People with symmetry disorder may spend excessive amounts of time and energy rearranging objects to achieve perfect symmetry. This can include rearranging furniture, organizing items in a specific order, or aligning objects in a particular pattern.
3. Distress and anxiety: Individuals with symmetry disorder often experience significant distress and anxiety when things are not arranged symmetrically. They may feel a sense of unease or discomfort until they are able to achieve the desired symmetry.
4. Interference with daily life: The preoccupation with symmetry can interfere with daily functioning. Individuals may spend excessive amounts of time organizing and rearranging objects, which can impact their ability to complete tasks or engage in social activities.
5. Avoidance behaviors: Some individuals with symmetry disorder may engage in avoidance behaviors to prevent situations that may disrupt symmetry. This can include avoiding certain environments or situations that may lead to asymmetry.
The exact cause of symmetry disorder is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors. Like other forms of OCD, symmetry disorder is thought to involve abnormalities in the brain circuits that regulate anxiety and repetitive behaviors.
Treatment for symmetry disorder typically involves a combination of medication and therapy. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of antidepressant, are often prescribed to help reduce anxiety and obsessive thoughts. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is also commonly used to help individuals identify and challenge their irrational thoughts and develop healthier coping strategies.
In therapy, individuals with symmetry disorder may be exposed to situations that challenge their need for symmetry and help them learn to tolerate asymmetry. This can be done gradually, with the support and guidance of a therapist, to help individuals gradually reduce their anxiety and distress.
Living with symmetry disorder can be challenging, but with proper treatment and support, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. It is important for individuals with symmetry disorder to seek help from a qualified mental health professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.