Mental Health Awareness Month: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

There is more to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) than just being a neat freak or watching your hands at times.

OCD can be a chronic or long-lasting disorder that can have a person enduring fearful thoughts that can lead them to do certain behaviors in their daily life.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, OCD can also be known as a presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both.

Having the obsessions or compulsions become a time-consuming daily issue, and the symptoms are not being caused by the physiological effects of a substance or anything medical related.

When it comes to looking out for signs and symptoms, they tend to pry into various aspects of a person’s life such as relationships and school.

Obsessions are the uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and urges or can mental images that cause anxiety.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, some indicators can be fear of germs or contamination, unwanted thoughts that involve sex, religion or harm.

Other signs are having aggressive thoughts towards oneself or others.

Having things symmetrical or in perfect order can be another symptom.

When it comes to OCD, thoughts become an urge to have specific things in order. Photo By Jennifer Kavert

Compulsion is the response to an obsessive thought and is the act of performing a behavior over and over.

A few symptoms are excessive cleaning, arranging things in a particular, precise way and repeatedly checking on things.

Some examples can be constantly checking to see if the door is locked, refusing to step on cracks while walking on the sidewalk or making sure that the oven is off.

College student, Mia Perez, shared her insight into what it’s like having to cope with OCD.

Certain compulsions, like double checking, can be a normal thing people do sometimes.

OCD comes to play when a person can’t take control of their thoughts or behaviors.

“A few thoughts that I’ve had can be like ‘thinking about the way I blink will make me blink weirdly forever and I will go crazy,’” Perez said. “There are so many I’ve thought of and can go really deep such as me not taking a certain step on the stairs can lead to a series of events that will end with the death of an innocent person.”

When a person is performing the repeated behavior doesn’t feel any delight from it but causes a brief relief of the anxiety from the thoughts, this can also be a sign.

One way that people can relieve themselves from OCD is by using the concept of mindfulness.

According to The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD, mindfulness is the state of acknowledging and accepting what is happening at the present moment just the way it is.

Thoughts are just thoughts and do not define who an individual is.

Look at the thoughts in the same way of looking at words.

They are just empty vessels that are granted power from the mind after considering them.

These intrusive and overwhelming thoughts are based on fear, not on evidence.

Meditation can help ease the stress over compulsions and the obsessions.

Therapy can also help a person cope with their situation.

CSUSB offers on-campus therapy at the Counseling Psychological Services.