Arithmomania

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Arithmomania is a mental disorder that may be seen as an expression of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).[1] Individuals suffering from this disorder have a strong need to count their actions or objects in their surroundings.[2]

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, or touching things a certain number of times such as a door knob or a table.

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.[3]

Arithomania in popular culture[edit]

  • Count von Count, a Sesame Street puppet whose main personality trait is the fact that he can't resist counting things.
  • Count in Fives, a song by the English garage rock band The Horrors is about a man addicted to counting in fives, with a dislike of other numbers.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles, the expansion to the video game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, there is a Bosmer ghost who counts in a sequence of specific numbers every time she talks. There is also an Imperial named Jastira Nanus in the town of Split, who, like the other residents has two versions of herself. Both versions are obsessed with counting, but unlike the Manic version, who counts every time she talks, the Demented one prefers counting the deceased.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ 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. An ideational compulsion is an urge to perform an act in one's mind (e.g. arithmomania, onomatomania).