This all started when my boyfriend called me in the middle of the night to tell me, “babe? I think I suffer from OCD!” I then asked him “what makes you think that?” he said because he went to the bathroom 3 times in a space of just 3 minutes.
So I did what any sane partner would do, hang up. That morning I woke up to 3 “Good morning” texts, I know right? More like OC Crazy. But it got me thinking what if you or even my boyfriend may actually suffer from OCD but they don’t know what the symptoms are? Well I’m going to provide you with 9 signs to help determine if you suffer from it or not and how you can get help. But first things first…
What is OCD?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder also known as OCD can be defined as a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviours that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over (Nimh.nih.gov, 2016). There are different treatment options available for OCD, including medication, behaviour therapy or a combination of both.
The 9 signs are:
- Fear or contamination – The use of hand sanitizer constantly became a common tool used to eliminate any form of contamination. The urge stems from a fear of germs which is the most common obsession seen in OCD.
- The repeated cleaning of one or more items – housecleaning is a way of easing a “germaphobe”. Although cleaning can help chase these obsessive thoughts away, the relief does not last, and the urge to clean is often even stronger the next time.
- Constant Checking – whether it’s every hour on the hour, checking 3 times that the kitchen door is locked. This behaviour is the most common compulsion associated with OCD affecting nearly 30% of people with the disorder (Nimh.nih.gov, 2016). Checking can be driven by a variety of obsessions, ranging from a fear of getting hurt to deep-seated feelings of irresponsibility.
- Constant Counting – some people with OCD perform tasks according to a certain numeric pattern or count to themselves as they perform everyday activities. This type of behaviour is mainly influenced by superstitions.
- Arranging items to face a certain way – People with OCD can perfect their organising skills. Things have to be arranged in a certain manner, face a certain direction, either be odd or even.
- Fear of violence – we all have thoughts about the possibility of being affected by violent crime or falling victim to Lemony Snicket’s series of unfortunate events. The more we try to avoid such thoughts, the more they play around in our heads and this appears to be especially true for people with OCD.
- Persistent sexual thoughts – to the non-OCD person, you might be thinking why and how? To sum it up; It’s just sexual thoughts about inappropriate behaviour that frequently occurs with those suffering from OCD. Patients may imagine for an instant that they are going to grope their co-worker or molest a child, or wonder if they are gay instead of straight.
- Seeking reassurance – one way people with OCD deal with their anxiety, is by asking for the opinion of their friends and family. For example, if they’re worried that maybe they embarrassed themselves at a party, they may repeatedly ask a friend to replay the incident.
- Hating your looks – Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a condition related to OCD in which people fixate on a part of their body they consider abnormal or unattractive. The obsessive thoughts associated with BDD are very similar to those seen in OCD. Many people with BDD also have OCD and worry about the cleanliness of their body in addition to how it looks (Health.com, 2016).
Should you or a loved one require any further information on OCD or help with treating your condition, the SADAG website (www.sadag.org) can provide you with a better understanding of the condition and information on support groups. Don’t wait till it’s too late, get the help you need.