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Ten signs of OCD

Ten signs of OCD

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We all have our little quirks, whether it’s organising cupboard space or triple checking you turned the cooker off before leaving the house. Generally, these are nothing to worry about but in some cases they could turn out to be a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

What is OCD?

As the name would suggest, OCD is made up of two parts: obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour. People suffering from OCD will have negative thoughts that they obsess over and feel anxious about. They may also feel compelled to carry out certain behaviours or rituals, such as excessive hand washing. These compulsions can ease the stress and anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts. It’s estimated that OCD affects around 3% of the population. It can occur at any age but is most often found in young adults under the age of 25.

Obsessions and compulsions

Not everyone with OCD will experience the same thoughts and obsessions. Each case is as personal as the individual concerned. However, some common obsessions and compulsions to look out for include:

1. Hand washing – excessively washing hands or going through too much hand sanitiser.

2. Extreme cleaning – obsessively cleaning door handles, phones, computer keyboards, kitchen surfaces and bathrooms to get rid of germs.

3. Over checking – almost 30% of people with OCD will frequently return to check that they have unplugged the iron or locked the front door. While we all do this now and again, if you’re doing it over and over it might be a symptom of OCD.

4. Aggression – obsessing over causing harm to yourself or others.

5. Fearing violence – reluctance to leave the house in case you are a victim of crime or expecting others to cause you harm for no reason.  Alternatively, you may call loved ones too often checking in to make sure they are okay.

6. Illness – fearing that you are seriously ill, despite showing no symptoms.

7. Numbers or repetition – some people feel compelled to do things in multiples of certain numbers, seven for luck, for example.  Others repeat the same action a certain number of times before they’re satisfied.

8. Ordering and arranging – everything has to be perfectly arranged, even if it’s in a cupboard where nobody else will see it. Many sufferers are also particular about symmetry, with everything having to be balanced.

9. Hoarding – most of us hoard the odd thing that we don’t need but for people with OCD hoarding can become a problem.

10. Sexual obsessions – unwanted sexual thoughts about inappropriate or forbidden behaviours.


Ten signs of OCD

Self help

There are a few things you can do to help keep OCD symptoms at bay. Exercising regularly will help reduce anxiety, while relaxation techniques can help you deal with worrying thoughts. Don’t turn to drink or drugs to help, as these will only make things worse in the long run.

Getting outside help

If you think you may have OCD then there is plenty of help available. Your GP should be your first port of call. Don’t be embarrassed about thoughts or behaviours you’ve been experiencing; if you’re not honest then your doctor won’t be able to help you. You may be referred to a mental health professional for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is a type of talking therapy. Your therapist will help you face your fears – in a gradual and controlled way – and you’ll be expected to practise these techniques between sessions. If your symptoms are extreme or CBT doesn’t help then you may be offered medication. Anti-depressants can help alleviate symptoms, even if you don’t feel depressed.

It’s important to remember that everyone has negative thoughts that make us feel anxious now and again. These are only a problem if they become frequent, you can’t concentrate on anything else and they interfere with your everyday life.



About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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