Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be described as unrealistic fears (obsessions) that can lead to compulsive, repetitive behaviors. Furthermore, one can also have just obsessive fears or just compulsions, and still have OCD.
What Does OCD Look Like?
Do you feel the need constantly double check things that you’ve already checked? I.e. checking that the straight iron is turned off, double or triple checking that the door is locked, washing your hands over and over again.. Lots of these habits are normal. But when certain things become obsessive rituals that overtake our thoughts, we are turning obsessive about it.
These frequent interrupted thoughts can upset us and become obsessions, and when we try to control them, we can become overwhelmed with an urge to perform those same rituals over and over and thence they turn into compulsions. People with OCD are unable to control these obsessions and compulsions. And the repetitive behaviors end up controlling them. When you try to ignore them, typically the distress and anxiety increases.
That unrealistic fear of germs and contamination may be what turned into compulsively washing your hands over and over again.
Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Checking – checking the stove is turned off, the door is locked
- Counting – counting in certain patterns
- Fear of dirt or contamination– fear of shaking peoples hands
- Following a strict routine
- Having things symmetrical or orderly — intense stress when objects aren’t ordered
- Orderliness – making sure items on a shelf are faced a certain way
- Repeating – repeating a prayer, a word of a phrase
- Unwanted thoughts including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects- thoughts about shouting obscenities or acting inappropriately
- Washing or cleaning- washing hands until they become raw
Symptoms can be mild or severe, or sometimes they gradually get worse when one become more stressed. Most of the time, adults can recognize that their obsessions and compulsions do not make sense, but sometimes they can’t. With children, they may not understand it is wrong.
It’s important to recognize the difference between someone who a perfectionist, extremely clean and orderly, and someone who is OCD. People with OCD usually have their quality of life affected, and experience feelings of shame about their condition. But there is hope! Seeing a specialist for treatment is the right path to take.
Although obsessive-compulsive disorder can be a life-long issue, it can definitely be treated to help symptoms become less intense. Usually a combination of psychotherapy and medicine is most effective. Medically speaking, antidepressants are usually the most commonly prescribed drug.
Psychotherapy usually involves a process called exposure and response prevention. This involves gradually exposing the individual to their fears to gradually overcome their anxiety associated with it. This helps to gain a healthier quality of life.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic condition, which may be an ongoing part of life. Don’t try to overcome in on your own, seek a specialist today to build a treatment plan specifically for you.
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