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OCD

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is characterized by persistent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions can interfere with daily life and cause significant distress.

Symptoms

Obsessions

These are intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images, or urges that cause anxiety or distress. Examples include fears of contamination, fears of harming oneself or others, fears of making a mistake, or fears of not being able to control one's impulses.

Compulsions

These are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly. Compulsions are aimed at reducing anxiety or preventing a feared event or situation. Examples include excessive hand washing, counting, checking locks, repeating phrases silently, and arranging items in a specific order.

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5 Symptom Subtypes of OCD

Although OCD symptoms generally fall into one of these five subtypes, it is possible for OCD symptoms to present differently in nature and focus of symptoms.

Contamination obsessions with washing/cleaning

Those suffering from this symptom subtype tend to ruminate on feelings of discomfort associated with germs/contamination and will wash and clean excessively.

Harm obsessions with checking compulsions

Those experiencing this symptom subtype will often have intense thoughts regarding possible harm, either to themselves or others, and will use checking rituals to relieve their distress.

Obsessions without visible compulsions

Those experiencing this symptom subtype will often have unwanted obsessions regarding sexual, religious, or aggressive themes. Triggers related to these obsessions are usually avoided at all costs.

Symmetry obsessions with ordering, arranging, and counting compulsions

Those suffering from this symptom subtype may need to rearrange objects constantly. It can also involve thinking or saying sentences or words repeatedly until one feels it has been accomplished perfectly.

Hoarding

This symptom subtype involves the collection of items until one’s living space is consumed with so much clutter it becomes nearly uninhabitable. This behavior is often sparked by obsessive fears of losing items one feels may be needed one day.

When should I seek help for OCD?

Symptom Severity

If your obsessions and compulsions are causing significant distress, anxiety, or interfering with your ability to perform everyday tasks, work, or maintain relationships, it's a strong sign that you should seek help.

Time Consumption

If you find that you are spending a significant amount of time each day engaging in compulsive behaviors or mental rituals to alleviate your anxiety, it's a sign that your OCD might need professional attention.

Impact on Quality of Life

If your OCD symptoms are preventing you from enjoying activities you used to enjoy, impacting your personal relationships, or hindering your ability to function, it's time to seek help.

Difficulty Managing Symptoms

If you've tried to manage your OCD symptoms on your own but find that your efforts are not effective or that the symptoms are persisting, seeking professional help can provide you with strategies and tools to manage your condition.

Negative Emotional Impact

If you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed due to your OCD symptoms, seeking help can provide you with the necessary support to improve your mental well-being.

Interference with Relationships

If your OCD symptoms are causing strain on your relationships with family, friends, or colleagues due to your rituals or behaviors, it's a sign that you should seek assistance.

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