What Did Howard Hughes Teach Us About OCD?

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The historical example of somebody who undoubtedly suffer from OCD is Howard Hughes the Texas billionaire and enterprenuer and by all accounts he had concerns with contamination, but particularly with germs, and his case illustrates to a very important points about OCD. One the disability it can cause and the other the way that intellect of executive function is preserved.

The fact that in his case it reached a point where he would hardly leave his room, in fact rarely even leave his bed to go to the bathroom. Because he was worried that he would contact something that would contaminate him and he would rarely wash. In contrast, he continued to run his business very effectively.

He would read the Wallstreet Journal, but when the Wallstreet Journal was delivered to him it was always in a stack of threes, and he would pull the one out that was sandwiched in the middle that had the least human contact. So you see a very interesting paradox between somebody who could still think rationally, function at a very high level but was plagued by symptoms that really controlled him.