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What is OCD?

OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder. This is a mental health condition that causes people to experience either obsessive thoughts and urges or compulsive and repetitive behaviors. It’s possible to suffer from both obsessions and compulsions. The symptoms of this disorder often cause difficulties in various aspects of one’s life. It can be debilitating. Read on to learn more about obsessive compulsive disorder and its symptoms.

About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Sometimes people will use this term to describe others who are extremely cleanly or who think a lot. Unfortunately, obsessive compulsive disorder is no laughing matter or something to be made light of. It’s a serious mental health disorder that can cause tremendous discomfort and ill effects to those who have it, along with their loved ones.

The kinds of obsessive thoughts one might have include things like worrying excessively that they they left the stove on at home to the point that they will return home repeatedly to check. The results of such worry would likely be that the individual would be late to work or to their intended destination. An example of a compulsive act could be someone needing to wash their hands seven times after every activity which they feel may have caused them to come in contact with germs.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms

According to NIMH, those with obsessive compulsive disorder may realize that their thoughts and actions aren’t logical. Unfortunately, they still experience them. They’re unable to stop these thoughts and actions. Symptoms of OCD vary by individual, but there are some that tend to be common.

Examples of obsessive thoughts include:

  • Fear of being hurt of someone else being hurt
  • Fear of germs or dirt
  • Constant awareness of body functions such as blinking or breathing
  • Need to have things in exact order
  • Belief that particular numbers or colors are good or bad
  • Unfounded suspicion that a partner is cheating

Examples of compulsive actions include:

  • Frequent hand washing
  • Fear of touching doorknobs, flushing public toilets or shaking hands
  • Completing tasks a certain number of times or in a particular order every time
  • Need to count things such as steps or syllables
  • Repeatedly checking things like a locked door or light switch
  • Desire to put things in an exact order

These are just some of the more common examples. Obsessive compulsive disorder can manifest in many unique ways.

Diagnosis and Treatment

First, it’s likely a physician will want to rule out any other causes by performing blood work and other tests. If it’s determined that no other conditions exists and that symptoms are causing a patient to be unable to perform everyday tasks for an hour or more a day, OCD may be present. There are treatments for this disorder, though it can’t be cured entirely. A doctor can prescribe medication. Psychotherapy is also helpful. Some people do best with a combination of both.

An understanding of this mental health condition can help individuals to seek treatment. OCD does affect a person’s life in significant ways and can be alleviated with the correct treatments.