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Obsessions vs special interests



Well-known member
Mar 23, 2009
I wonder what the difference,if there is one, is.

I don't think mine would count as special interests but do think they affect my functioning as I can become fixated on them to the neglect of other things .

Pre internet: Making cassette tapes by artist/genre/year etc. Writing lists of songs by genre/year etc.

Internet: Checking my rss feeds and twitter etc over a dozen times a day for articles to post on facebook/forums/twitter. Mostly mental health and politics.

Pre internet I would go to my local library and scour books on mental health and psychology.

A lesser /more sporadic interest over the years has been genealogy/traditional and dna.


Well-known member
Jul 8, 2013
A lot of people have sporting obsessions. I don't have an obsessive nature, but I do like to follow Tennis and Formula 1 statistics. I probably have a bit knowledge there.

I don't bother with so much mental health news, but I guess I would be interested if there was a genuine breakthrough.

I follow the politics through listening to LBC which I do everyday.

I did do my family tree online which took hold of me for a few weeks. IT was intersting at first, but really it would be better to share it with my family. I shared it with my brother but not heard much back about it.


Well-known member
Oct 25, 2015
From a personal perspective, I would say something becomes an 'obsession' (I'm classifying obsession as more of a problem than special interest, not sure if that's correct) when I become miserable when I'm not doing the thing, to the extent that I'm not able to engage in other pleasurable activities.

I seem to have calmed down on this during the last couple of years though.