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Adult Down Syndrome Center


The Groove or OCD?

May 9, 2024 05:00 AM
What is the difference between the groove and OCD

Many individuals with Down syndrome prefer sameness, repetition, or routine. This preference has been called the “Groove.” The groove can be very functional and beneficial; but it can also become problematic for the individual and his/her family, roommates, co-workers, etc. There is a continuum from most functional to least functional grooves. grooves that are not functional may be an indication of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The groove may also become OCD when it includes repetitive thoughts (obsessions) or repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that interfere significantly in normal and essential activities of life. For example, a groove is significantly problematic if morning or evening routines become so elaborate that someone consistently misses work or social activities or feels compelled to do a particular activity even when they would prefer not to. 

In our webinar The Groove in People with Down Syndrome, Brian Chicoine, MD, and Katie Frank, PhD, OTR/L, discuss the groove and OCD and provide medicinal and non-medicinal strategies for managing less functional grooves.

The groove and OCD are also discussed in chapters 10 and 19 in Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome by Dennis McGuire, PhD, and Brian Chicoine, MD. A free PDF copy of the book is available in our Resource Library. 

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