OCD Is a Debilitating Mental Condition: Here’s How to Spot It
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is not the same as wanting to keep clean, neat, and tidy. It is a disorder that effectively controls your life and makes you a slave to keeping clean, neat, and tidy. Whenever the obsessions become overwhelming, it’s time to reassess what’s really going on. OCD is a thought-action disorder. The thoughts are invasive, pervasive, and unrelenting. The compulsions are the actions taken by the individual to try and quell the obsessive thoughts. Unfortunately, no amount of actions can ever possibly keep the obsessions under control. When OCD is the diagnosis, it can vary in severity.
There are ways to differentiate between generalized anxiety, and OCD. Mental health counselors agree that OCD symptoms will vary between people. Today, we take a look at 5 tell-tale obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms, and how best to tackle them early on for a favorable outcome. Since much of the literature on OCD focuses on cleanliness, hygiene, and germs, that’s a good place to start.
1. Hand washing and cleanliness
It’s perfectly normal to want to have clean hands before you eat, after you shake hands of people, and when you come home. While certain people are more pedantic about hand washing and cleaning than others, with OCD it’s very different. People with OCD will wash their hands to the point of being raw. These actions are deeply rooted in irrational thought processes. Such is the concern about contracting viruses, spreading germs, or getting sick, that people with OCD often have cracked or bleeding hands, rubbed raw from over washing.
2. Persistent doubt and uncertainty
One of the most common OCD concerns is the lack of self-assuredness. This presents many challenges to people with OCD since they are never quite sure that they performed an action if it’s related to an OCD worry. For example, if safety and security are at the forefront of somebody’s mind, someone with OCD may constantly doubt themselves whether they locked the door or not. This persistent doubt and uncertainty can be about anything related to OCD.
Uncertainty is poorly tolerated with OCD sufferers. This disorder is all about trying to stay in control, and whenever control feels like it’s slipping away, the OCD goes into overdrive. These are the obsession symptoms. From a compulsion symptom perspective, the doubt and uncertainty result in checking and rechecking. It can become incredibly frustrating for people with OCD, and their loved ones when the same actions are performed over and over again.
3. Pattern counting and extremely rigid ways of doing things
This is a slippery slope to walk, since there’s nothing abnormal about having a structured approach to performing certain actions. When people start behaving like computers and stacking grocery items in a fixed way with no tolerance for anything out of place, it’s a sign that OCD may be present. The same is true for the way you pack your clothing, your bookshelf, or the way your desk and drawers are arranged. If the obsession with specific ways of doing things becomes so overwhelmingly strong that you cannot bear the thought of anything being out of place–it may well be OCD.
Again, there is a clear difference between trying to keep neat,tidy, and orderly, and having the desire to do so overtaking your life completely. When you are in control of what you’re doing, and the obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions are not in control of you, it’s less likely to be OCD. Pattern counting is another tell-tale sign that OCD may be present. Pattern counting is a form of Arithmomania. [https://www.ocdtypes.com/counting-ocd.php]
It can occur that people count in a certain way because they believe numbers have significance. If the number 5 is important to somebody with OCD, they may perform certain actions 5 times to be sure that they’ve done it correctly. Achieving numerical goals is the compulsive component of the OCD. There are many superstitious and strange patterns evident with OCD counting.
4. Irrational fear of causing physical harm to others, or oneself
OCD sufferers routinely complain about thoughts of wanting to hurt other people, or even themselves. Sometimes these thoughts are obscene, vulgar, and terrifying. For example, thoughts of molesting children may pervade the mind of somebody with OCD. No matter how hard they try, the thoughts don’t want to leave. Naturally, such unwanted, wicked thoughts cause tremendous distress to the OCD sufferer. It can lead to feelings of embarrassment and shame, destroy self-esteem, and prevent any form of relationship from developing.
5. Persistent, pervasive sexual thoughts
Everyone fantasizes about specific sexual behaviors from time to time. However, with OCD, the thoughts cannot be stopped. They are extremely graphic, overwhelming, and sometimes even disturbing. The unwanted sexual thoughts may pertain to an unacceptable sexual behavior. The obsessive thoughts may cause a person to second-guess who they are, what they like, and even their own sexual orientation. As a case in point, somebody with pervasive sexual thoughts may think of groping a person in the street, at the grocery store, or in the bathroom. These thoughts become so strong that the person may actually fight against them by avoiding all of the triggers of these thoughts (the focal points), such as children, co-workers, gay men and women, et cetera.
There are many other tips for spotting OCD in people, and in yourself. If the thoughts are so overwhelmingly strong and you cannot come to grips with them, you may be struggling with OCD. It’s always best to get a professional opinion vis-a-vis an evaluation by a licensed mental health professional, doctor, or psychiatrist to diagnose the issue. Once it has been diagnosed, you can embark upon a course of action which may include mental health counseling, medication, and alternative treatment regimens such as Deep TMS™. The objective in all cases is to reduce the stress from the OCD to make life tolerable, manageable, and fulfilling again.