Arithmomania is a mental disorder that may be seen as an expression of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). Individuals suffering from this disorder have a strong need to count their actions or objects in their surroundings.
Sufferers may for instance feel compelled to count the steps while ascending or descending a flight of stairs or to count the number of letters in words. They often feel it is necessary to perform an action a certain number of times to prevent alleged calamities. Other examples include counting tiles on the floor or ceiling, the number of lines on the highway, or simply the number of times one breathes or blinks.
Arithmomania sometimes develops into a complex system in which the sufferer assigns values or numbers to people, objects and events in order to deduce their coherence.[clarification needed]
Counting may be done aloud or in thought.
European folklore concerning vampires often depicts them with arithmomania, such as a compulsion to count seeds or grains of rice. In the TV show Sesame Street, the vampire character Count von Count is often shown counting various objects.
- Yaryura-Tobias, José A.; Neziroglu, Fugen A. (1997). Obsessive-compulsive disorder spectrum: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment. American Psychiatric Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 0-88048-707-0. "Arithmomania, a common form, causes patients to engage in addition, division, subtraction and multiplication endlessly."
- Schiffer, Randolph B.; Rao, Stephen M.; Fogel, Barry S. (2003). Neuropsychiatry: A Comprehensive Textbook, Second Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 948. ISBN 0-7817-2655-7. "Charcot, however, was the first to identify the involuntary "impulsive" ideas, such as doubting mania, double checking, touching, and arithmomania (an obsession with counting and numbers), as part of GTS and to link them to the impulsive movements."
- Yaryura-Tobias, José A.; Neziroglu, Fugen A. (1997). Obsessive-compulsive disorder spectrum: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment. American Psychiatric Pulishing. p. 12. ISBN 0-88048-707-0. "An ideational compulsion is an urge to perform an act in one's mind (e.g. arithmomania, onomatomania)."
- Barber, Vampires, Burial and Death, p. 49.
- "Count von Count".