Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts. These are called obsessions that lead to feelings of anxiety. To relieve the obsessions and anxiety OCD leads to behaviors called compulsions – these are also called rituals.
Signs and Symptoms
People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all a persons daily life, including work, school, and personal relationships.
Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Common symptoms include:
- Fear of germs or contamination
- Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm.
- Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
- Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. Common compulsions include:
- Excessive cleaning and/or hand washing
- Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
- Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
- Compulsive counting
Not all rituals or habits are compulsions. Everyone double checks things sometimes. But a person with OCD generally:
Can’t control his or her thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive.
- Spends at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts or behaviors
- Doesn’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but may feel brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
- Experiences significant problems in their daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors
Some individuals with OCD also have a tic disorder. Motor tics are sudden, brief, repetitive movements, including eye blinking and other eye movements, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, and head or shoulder jerking. The most common vocal tics include repetitive throat-clearing, sniffing, or grunting sounds.
Symptoms may come and go, ease over time, or worsen. People with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions, or they may use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing doesn’t make sense, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary.
Here is a link to a Help Guide