OCD symptoms

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been classified as a sort of anxiety disorder. The sufferer of this order comes up with feelings and worries – which are irrational and which later become obsessions. These make them be regularly involved in irrational behaviors – sometimes against their will; this type of phenomenon is known as compulsion. The sufferers often understand that their behaviors are irrational, and as a result, they try to bring such behaviors under control – but in vain. In fact, trying to prevent such behaviors may exacerbate the fears and worries, and increase the frequency of compulsive acts – rather than reduce them.

One type of obsessive compulsive disorders is the fear of being infected. The sufferer of this type then washes his hands so often that they become painful. Worse, the fear of being infected keeps on growing.
Usually, it is hard to tell when fears result in obsessive-compulsive disorders. As a result, it is necessary to pay close attention to the symptoms to decide whether they are being caused by OCD. All OCD symptoms have two components: obsessions and compulsions.

The obsessions are characterized by involuntary and irrational thoughts – called “impulses”. In addition, they make it hard for the sufferer to pay attention to other important activities. Some of the common OCD symptoms and their obsessions are:

  • Losing hair and becoming bald due to pulling hair too often and too hard.
  • Developing diseases on the skin due to washing hands too often.
  • Avoiding shaking hands with other people – even during social events – because of the fair of being contaminated with germs from others’ hands.
  • Having the desire to make indecent gestures or remarks in social gatherings or to say nasty words unnecessarily.
  • Thinking about the ways one could hurt their own child.
  • Becoming extremely anxious when their belongings are not arranged in the desired way.
  • Fearing of being involved – though, unintentionally – in a traffic accident. (In this type of situation, the sufferer portrays himself as the driver, rather than as the victim).
  • Worrying about forgetting to turn off the stove or to open the door.
  • Fearing about catching germs by being in contact with other people and objects.

On the other hand, the compulsions are characterized by behaviors that the sufferers frequently engage in – in order to reduce the fears and worries caused by their obsessions. The sufferers also often undertake self-made rules that – they believe – would have them bring their fears and worries under control. Some of the most common OCD compulsions are:

  • Washing hands so frequently that they become chapped and sore.
  • Making sure – too many times – that their doors have been locked.
  • Making sure – again, too frequently – that their stoves have been turned off.
  • Becoming uncommonly absorbed in counting one type of object.
  • Ensuring that all books have been arranged in a particular way.

After looking at the list, many people would confuse the OCD symptoms with those of perfectionism. However, there is a significant difference: the OCD symptoms are more extreme than those of a perfectionist. For instance, a perfectionist wants the floors in their homes clean and spotless. On the other hand, a person suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder keeps their floors so clean that they do not even want to walk on them.

Since this disorder takes away the sufferer’s attention away from important work and makes them spend too much time on unnecessary behaviors, it is important to visit the doctor immediately when the symptoms become too visible. There are many treatments, such psychotherapy and medications like fluvoxamine and sertraline, that can bring these symptoms under control.

Last updated on Jun 6th, 2010 and filed under Mental Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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