What is it?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition in which a person has excessive thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviours (compulsions). Obsessions are the worrisome thoughts that cause anxiety. Compulsions are the behaviors you use to relieve that anxiety. OCD can be distressing and significantly interfere with your life, but treatment can help you keep it under control.

What are the symptoms?

Signs of OCD usually become apparent in childhood or early adulthood. It tends to begin slowly and become more intense as you mature. For many people, symptoms come and go, but it’s usually a lifelong problem. In severe cases, it has a profound impact on quality of life. Some common obsessions associated with OCD include:

  • Anxiety about germs and dirt, or fear of contamination.
  • Need for symmetry and order.
  • Concern that your thoughts or compulsions will harm others, feeling you can keep other people safe by performing certain rituals.
  • Worry about discarding things of little or no value.
  • Disturbing thoughts or images about yourself or others.

Some of the behaviors that stem from these obsessive thoughts include:

  • Excessive hand washing, repetitive showering, unnecessary household cleaning.
  • Continually arranging and reordering things to get them just right.
  • Checking the same things over and over even though you know you’ve already checked them.
  • Hoarding unnecessary material possessions like old newspapers and used wrapping paper rather than throwing them away.
  • Counting or repeating a particular word or phrase. Performing a ritual like having to touch something a certain number of times or take a particular number of steps.
  • Focusing on positive thoughts to combat the bad thoughts.

What to expect?

In addition to treatment by your doctor or psychologist you can try the following things yourself:

  • Maintaining a normal rhythm by going to sleep at normal times and getting out of bed early in the morning.
  • Try to keep doing your normal daily activities.
  • Try stay active by doing sports or taking a walk.

Think you might have Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

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Think you might have Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?