Charlize, Billy Bob, DiCaprio: Celebrities With OCD

Charlize Theron is latest celebrity to admit to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

ByABC News
October 2, 2009, 3:21 PM

Oct. 6, 2009— -- Oscar-winner Charlize Theron has a problem with cabinets -- messy ones.

The Oscar-winning actress is the latest celebrity to confess she suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD.

"I actually have a serious problem -- obsessive compulsive disorder," she was quoted saying in London's Daily Mail. "I have a problem with cabinets being messy and people just shoving things in and closing the door. I will lie in bed and not be able to sleep because I'll say to myself: 'I think I saw something in that cabinet that just shouldn't be there.'"

If it seems like OCDand celebrity go hand-in-hand, there's a reason. So many celebrities have admitted to having the condition.

OCD is an anxiety disorder that at its basic level is a fear of one's thoughts -- whether it's a fear of messiness, germs or something else. To relieve the anxiety associated with such intrusive thoughts, an obsessive-compulsive will feel compelled to behave in a certain way, such as cleaning out their cabinets before going to sleep or avoiding touching doorknobs.

Stephen Whiteside, a psychologist at the Mayo Clinc in Rochester, Minn., who specializes in anxiety disorders including OCD, said there's no research to show that celebrities are particularly predisposed to OCD.

But he said the characteristics of OCD, which include checking, frequent washing and being extremely organized, could be helpful to a person if utilized on a more "typical level."

"It would make sense that people with these types of traits can be highly successful," he told "And celebrities are highly successful people."

Whiteside said the term OCD is often misused, but it's a condition many people can relate to. Some of us wash our hands even when we don't need to or double check the lock on a door even though we know it's already locked. For many people, these are mild disruptions in their day; for others, OCD can completely put their lives on hold.

Clearly, many of the celebrities, including Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Love Hewitt, who have admitted to having OCD have managed to work around their disorder in order to lead successful lives. With more celebrities going public with their OCD, Whiteside said he hopes the stigma of what was once called the "hidden epidemic" can diminish and more people will seek treatment.