OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder that can affect adults and children alike. The most common symptoms of OCD are repeated obsessions or compulsions but the most striking of its symptoms is anxiety.
Obsessions are recurrent thoughts or impulses that are considered inappropriate and may cause marked anxiety or distress. On the other hand, compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person is driven to perform because of an obsession.
If you have obsessive compulsive disorder, you may have obsessive thoughts like fear of dirt and germs, overconcern with order, neatness and symmetry, preoccupation with checking or counting, or fear of doing anything embarrassing. It is normal to think about hygiene and being clean, but in obsessive compulsive behavior, this concern is too much that it often alienates people in your surrounding.
Aside from these obsessive thoughts, you may also have compulsive behaviors like frequent washing of hands, taking showers, brushing your teeth more often than normal, cleaning, putting everything in order, or double checking locks and switches to ensure that you have turned them off.
However, all the symptoms of OCD mentioned above may vary from one person to another. People with OCD who have depression may also experience suicidal feelings.
If you have children with this disorder, you may also notice them repeating actions until they find it right. These actions may be as simple as going to and fro, going up and down the stairs or rewriting their homework. You have to understand too that if you are dealing with children having this kind of disorder, they may also develop fear to go to school or leave home and the people they feel comfortable with. However, children with OCD may not grow up with this disorder as anxiety may change over time.
Other obsessive thoughts that are also symptoms of OCD include excessive attention given to religious or moral values or anything that you might consider lucky or not. You might also develop fear to cause harm to yourself or to other people and to lose things that you might need. Another compulsive behavior of people with OCD is collecting “junk” stuffs like old magazines, newspapers, or empty containers.
These obsessive thoughts are usually unwanted, and though they come from your own mind, they are often impossible to control.
People with obsessive compulsive disorder also have aggressive impulses, sexually explicit thoughts, or violent images in their mind. And these obsessions and compulsions really cause distress and significantly intervene with a person’s normal activities, occupational or academic routines, or even personal relationships. The disorder becomes disturbing because when you or someone dear to you has OCD, you may feel helpless and isolated. It may also cause you additional illness or discomforts like dermatitis due to frequent washing of hands, skin lesions caused by frequent picking of your skin, or hair loss due to hair pulling. However, the disturbance caused by the disorder is not due to the physiological effects of any substance or medical condition.
Usually, the onset of this disorder occurs during adolescence and symptoms of other disorders like autism and attention deficit disorder may also look like OCD. That’s why a thorough psychological and medical examination is needed before making any diagnosis.
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