Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, affects 2.2 million or 1 percent of adults in the United States. However, people frequently use this term lightly. “My house is so clean; I’m OCD” is a statement that may seem true, but OCD is associated with so much more than being obsessed with cleanliness. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is not something to joke about, as many people severely struggle with it each day. Continue reading to learn more about OCD and its symptoms.
What is OCD?
OCD is a chronic mental health condition characterized by different obsessions, leading to highly compulsive behaviors. Continuous, unwanted thoughts and urges are the main symptoms of OCD. Rituals and habits help those suffering feel secure, even though they may be created from irrational urges. Unfortunately, these urges are often unstoppable, even if those suffering know they don’t make logical sense.
What Are Some Symptoms of OCD?
The two symptoms of OCD are obsessions and compulsions. Although they both interrupt daily life, there is a difference between the two.
What Are Obsessions?
Obsessions are typically caused by triggers and are hard to avoid and ignore, especially when they affect daily life. Some common themed obsessions are contamination, behavior, fear of losing control, causing accidental harm and perfect or orderly life. Listed below are scenarios for each type of obsession.
Fear of things that can make you sick, such as:
- Germs and illness – “germaphobe.”
- Bodily fluids
- Environmental hazards – pollution, radiation, etc.
- Poisonous household products – cleaning products, medication, etc.
Fear of unwanted images or urges that are upsetting and don’t want to be acted on, such as:
- Unwanted sexual thoughts involving family members, harmful activities and so on
- Worry about acting violently
- Worries you’ve offended God
Fear of losing control and worry that you will act on these horrible thoughts, such as:
- Breaking laws
- Causing harm to yourself or others
- Inexcusable public outbursts
Causing Accidental Harm
Fear of hurting someone by accident, such as:
- Accidentally hitting a person or animal while driving
- Poisoning someone by using the wrong ingredient
- Leaving an appliance on and causing a house fire
- Forgetting to lock up when leaving, causing a burglary
Orderly or Perfect Life
Fear and extreme upsetness when something is out of place or is not orderly. Unlike a perfectionist, someone with these obsessions will feel physically sick until something is “just right.” These traits include:
- Fearing you will forget or have forgotten something important
- Messed up direction or organization of items
- Feeling a need for symmetry everywhere in your home and office
- Hoarding – never throwing things away in case you will need them later on
What Are Compulsions?
Compulsions are the mental and physical responses to the obsessions listed above. In other words, the compulsions are the reactions and behaviors associated with each obsession. Compulsions can last for long periods and be repeated, even if those struggling with OCD do not necessarily want to be doing them. They often give a sense of relief and relaxation from an obsession until the next one strikes.
Compulsions can vary depending on the behaviors that are affecting one person from another. Some common compulsions, or reactions, to obsessions include:
- Checking the lock on the door and windows multiple times a day
- Checking the stove and appliances numerous times a day
- Excessively washing hands
- Reading over your work excessively
- Repeating a list in your head over and over
- Constantly reviewing events or conversations in your head, before and after they have happened
- Having a specific and in-depth hygiene ritual
- Constantly cleaning your home
- Wearing “good-luck” charms every day
Should I Seek Help?
It is normal for most people to experience a few obsessions or behaviors. The difference between everyday obsessions and compulsive obsessions can sometimes be the reasoning behind them. For example, if someone cleans their house often because they like coming home to a neat space, that is a normal obsession. However, if your cleaning is rooted in fear, like your child contracting a disease from germs, for example, that would be considered an unhealthy obsession. Just as if you wear your lucky socks when your favorite team is playing versus wearing your lucky socks every day, or else you feel that something terrible will happen to you or your family.
When these behaviors take up a significant part of your day or dictate your world, you can become mentally exhausted and sometimes even physically sick. This is when it is time to seek help.
Suffering from ODC? Let Seneca Health Services Help You Today.
OCD is a debilitating mental disorder, and if not treated properly, it can start to consume your entire life. No one should ever have to live life in fear of its surroundings. Here at Seneca Health Services, we understand that, and we are here for you. Our highly trained therapists can work with you to help alleviate the stresses, obsessions and anxieties of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
We respect diversity and offer specialized services to address the needs of our patients. If you need help or have questions about therapy and mental health treatment, please do not hesitate to contact the Seneca office nearest you or use the link provided here.
Greenbrier County, West Virginia: (304) 497-0500
Nicholas County, West Virginia: (304) 872-2659
Pocahontas County, West Virginia: (304) 799-6865
Webster County, West Virginia: (304) 847-5425