Do you find yourself frequently checking the locks on your doors or appliances? Perhaps you have to rearrange objects so that they’re “just so,” or else you can’t focus. If you identify with any of these behaviors, you may be suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD. OCD is a mental health disorder that can cause considerable distress in sufferers’ lives. The good news is that there are effective treatments available. Read on to learn more about the symptoms of OCD.
Common Symptoms of OCD
OCD often manifests as an unreasonable fear, or anxiety, about a particular situation or object. For example, a person with OCD may be afraid of getting sick from germs and will therefore engage in compulsions like excessive hand-washing. Other common obsessions include fear of making mistakes, fear of being embarrassed, fear of losing control, and fear of being harmed by others.
These fears lead to compulsive behaviors intended to mitigate anxiety. Common compulsions include repetitive hand-washing or showering, cleaning household surfaces obsessively, needlessly checking locks or appliances, excessively organizing objects, and constant reassurance-seeking from others. People with OCD often realize that their behaviors are irrational but feel unable to control them. This can lead to shame and further isolation.
Impact of OCD on Daily Life
The distress caused by OCD can interfere with all aspects of life, including work, school, and personal relationships. People with OCD may start to avoid activities or places that trigger their obsessions, which can make it difficult to maintain social ties. In severe cases, people with OCD may become completely isolated and housebound.
Left untreated, OCD can lead to other mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorders. It’s important to seek professional help if you think you might be suffering from OCD. With the help of a therapist specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), many people with OCD are able to significantly reduce their symptoms and take back control of their lives.
If you’re struggling with persistent intrusive thoughts or compulsive behaviors, know that you’re not alone—and help is available. Early diagnosis and treatment of OCD can make a huge difference in your quality of life. If you think you might have OCD, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional about your symptoms and options for treatment.