Jan 22

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What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?


What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

OMG doesn’t the wording in the photo just make you want to straighten the words? Lolol.   Living life with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, known as OCD, is not easy. It makes a person feel that he or she can’t do anything without first giving in to their rituals.    I have a friend who took forever driving home because she would have to drive around the block a few times checking,  checking to make sure she didn’t hit someone that was left laying in the road.   Sad but true!

Oh have you seen As Good As It Gets?  Oh my gosh, Jack Nicholson does the best job portraying a person who has OCD.    You must see it if you haven’t.

OCD is all about out of control rituals, obsessions and compulsions.

Rituals that are performed when you have OCD can interfere with almost every aspect of their life.
Counting for example, an individual with OCD may find counting as a ritual that is difficult to ignore. Even though they know these rituals do not make any sense at all, they still cannot avoid or ignore it.  I have a problem counting stairs when climbing up or down.  But that is just an annoyance and doesn’t interfere with my life.

Some people may wash their hair three times because at the back of their mind three is a lucky number and washing the hair less or more than three times would bring bad luck.

Some people may straighten out pictures on the wall or get agitated if the electrical sockets are put in crooked.

Some people when reading may try to count the number of paragraphs first before deciding when to start and when to stop reading.

Checking is another ritual.  I would go to bed knowing I had checked locks on the doors and that I had turned off the gas on the stove.  But I would have to get up repeatedly and re-check and re-check and re-check.  It got to the point I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep because I knew I had re-checked but I thought “something” could happen.

Obsessions and Accompanying Compulsions

Another case of OCD is the example of an individual who thinks if they do not follow their rituals, something bad would happen to someone else. Even though they know their thoughts are totally irrational and unfounded, they cannot stop their thoughts.
Getting dressed in the morning can also be difficult as there may be certain time-consuming rituals to do beforehand and if there are time pressures their anxiety elevates. If they try to ignore their urge to spend more time on their rituals it begins to create severe worry.

Another example is a person who has an obsession with germs or dirt may find the compulsion to wash their hands more often than needed.  This can lead to rashes on hands from over washing.  This example is often the one people most readily recognize as being an obsessive compulsive disorder.

Individuals with OCD will always have these persistent and irrational thoughts, whether they be rituals, compulsions or obsessions.  For individuals with OCD, these ‘checking’ actions that are done repeatedly as a matter of course are  a disturbing, daily interference in their life.
Many individuals who have OCD are often ashamed to tell anyone about their obsessions or rituals and try to hide them as much as possible for fear of ridicule. They also find it difficult to overcome on their own and this is why seeking treatment for OCD is necessary. Do NOT be worried about seeking out a mental health provider to discuss these issues with.     Your life will feel so much better with treatment.   There is help for those of us who supper from OCD!

More to come on Types of OCD and Treatments for OCD.


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