The term ‘OCD’ is commonly thrown around to describe people who place a high importance on organization and structure. However, this serious mental health condition comes with much more than a desire for cleanliness. When someone has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), they become fixated on needing things to be done or arranged in a certain way. This obsession, along with the compulsions that follow, can drastically affect someone’s work and social relationships. Since this diagnosis can change many facets of a person’s life, it is important to be able to tell Obsessive Compulsive Disorder apart from perfectionism and tidiness.
What Is OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, otherwise known by its acronym OCD, comes with patterns of unwanted thoughts and fears that may result in repetitive behaviors. These behaviors will begin to interfere with an individual’s daily routine and cause them significant distress. People with OCD feel compelled to perform repetitive acts in hopes that it will relieve their stress, but it actually restarts the pattern of obsession and compulsion.
This disorder often centers around themes, such as germs, but can involve fixations about other topics as well. Like many other disorders, OCD builds over time and does not come all at once. Symptoms increase in severity over time if the disorder goes untreated.
OCD Causes & Risk Factors
While there is no specific cause of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, there are some biological and environmental factors that may make a person more likely to develop the condition. For example, an OCD diagnosis could potentially be the result of changes in brain function or body chemistry during adolescence. Or, if a child watches a close family member who has OCD, they may eventually begin harboring similar thoughts and displaying obsessive behaviors over time.
A person is more likely to have OCD if they have a family history with the disorder, have gone through stressful and traumatic life events, or have a preexisting mental health condition.
Signs & Symptoms of OCD
The symptoms of OCD have the potential to vary and change throughout a person’s life. Signs will typically involve both obsessions or compulsions, but may only include one in some cases.
Here are some examples and signs of the ‘obsession’ component of OCD:
- Having a fear of dirt
- Not wanting to touch things other people have touched
- Not tolerating uncertainty
- Doubting whether or not you did something
- Needing things to be symmetrical and orderly
- Getting stressed when objects aren’t facing a certain way
- Having intrusive violent or aggressive thoughts
- Having unwanted sexual thoughts
- Dwelling on relationships
The obsessions above may come with compulsive behaviors. Signs of compulsion may include:
- Displaying repetitive behaviors (cleaning the same thing constantly)
- Checking things twice (like the stove & the lock on the door)
- Constantly demanding reassurance in relationships
- Assigning numbers to objects or counting in patterns
- Habitually repeating certain phrases or words
- Following an extremely strict daily routine
- Frequent hand washing and sanitizing
The symptoms of OCD usually begin to emerge during the teen or young adult years. In some cases, signs may be clear during childhood.
How To Determine If You Have OCD
If obsessions and compulsions take up a large portion of your energy and get in the way of your daily routine, you could possibly be struggling with OCD. The only way to know for sure is to contact a doctor and receive testing for a diagnosis. Diagnosing OCD typically involves a physical exam, a psychological exam, and blood tests to rule out any other conditions.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment
While OCD is considered a lifelong disorder, it can be managed and maintained with the right treatment. If you are looking for obsessive compulsive disorder treatment, visit LifeSkills website today.