Symptoms of OCD – How to Check If You Have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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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Signs and Symptoms of OCD That You Should Know

Understanding the mechanism of various anxiety disorders is crucial, especially when the people involved in such disorder is an immediate family member, an in-law, or perhaps a close and trusted friend. It is important for us to go back and really understand the basics before digging any further. Needless to say anxiety disorders are caused by uncontrollable anxiety. Yes, anxiety per se is associated with a vague feeling of dread or apprehension. Anxiety as a vague feeling is also the root cause of why a number of people suffer from obsessive compulsive behavior, better known with its acronym OCD. It is a common response by people to both external and internal stimuli that in turn, can result to conscious and unconscious behavioral, emotional, cognitive and physical OCD symptoms.

OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions, although some only experience just one or the other. Obsessions are continuous, apparently unmanageable thoughts and impulses that constantly happen in your mind. While you are aware that these thoughts and ideas do not make sense, you just can’t stop them. Sadly, these events are often, if not always, disturbing and distracting. Compulsions on the other hand are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that attempts to neutralize the existing feeling of anxiety. While few OCD symptoms disappear over time, they may increase and get worse when the sufferer gets to face much stress.

A number of people with OCD display fears of getting dirty, they typically wash their hands over and over again. People like them are very particular with being contaminated, and are making ways to keep their body clean all the time.

Others have habits of checking things repeatedly. They make sure the television is turned off and the doors are kept locked before leaving the house for work or even before going to sleep at night. The habit of too much checking things are associated with the need to have safety and security, and the obsession of avoiding harm or danger.

Some individuals with OCD are branded by the public as doubters and sinners. They are perfectionists. They are afraid of not having things perfectly done. When some things do not happen the way they should, they feel something bad will happen or they may be punished for doing wrong.

Others have obsessions on order and symmetry, they have uncontrolled impulses to keep things arranged as much as possible. They may have superstitions about numbers, colors, and patterns.

Many OCD sufferers are being referred to as Hoarders, they fear that something bad will happen if they happen to toss and throw things like books, bottle caps, pencils, and papers. They compulsively save and collect things, even those that they do not need or use.

If you happen to have few of the said signs and symptoms of OCD, or if you notice a relative or a close friend having such habit, it does not necessarily mean they have OCD. Assumptions are not enough and a thorough medical and psychological exam is needed before making any conclusion.

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