What are the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Symptoms

OCD Symptoms

More and more people nowadays are becoming aware about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The increase in complexity of life and the rise in uncertainties have forced many people into habits that are obsessive and compulsive. Many people fail to realize the condition they are in and keep wondering what is happening to them. Here is a list of ocd symptoms to help them better understand their condition.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsession and compulsion are two stages that bring about a behavioral change in the person suffering from OCD. These two can be explained as –

Obsessiveness – This involves thoughts, tendencies, fears and the replaying of disturbing images in the mind of the affected person which are very distressing. Others who observe him will consider him “obsessive”. The thoughts center on fears, complexes and insecurities, which may not always be true. Unfortunately, even if the person understands his situation, he can do little to remove these thoughts. Sometimes he unsuccessfully tries to distract himself to gain control over his thoughts, but fails. These thoughts may not always be directly influenced by the experiences and observations of the affected persons. But some of the fears may be a direct result of some traumatic experiences the person may have had.

Compulsiveness – This involves actions, repetitive actions brought about as a direct result of an obsession. The affected person feels compelled to carry out these actions, even if he realizes that they are not entirely necessary and may be harmful or irritating. But due to the grip of obsessiveness, the person unconsciously carries out these actions rigidly, anyway. These actions are supposed to correct the obsessive thoughts and serve to provide a temporary relief. This is little relief as the person will repeat the action in order to attain perfection and accuracy.

OCD Symptoms

Symptoms of Obsessiveness

Fear – examples – fear of theft, burglary, accidents, injuries, hurting someone, loosing something; fear of omitting or forgetting something, fear of disease; repeatedly checking on something like door locks, switches to prevent accidents (double checking) as a result of fear of some kind etc.
Suspicion – examples – thinking that others are conspiring against him, suspicion of cheating by spouse, suspecting neighbors and prying into the lives of others, etc.
Insecurities – examples – loss of job, death, fear of going against religious beliefs, loss of loved ones, loss of face in the society, repeatedly fantasizing about certain sexual acts or theories, etc.
Orderliness – examples – worrying regularly about arranging things in order, about hygiene, etc.

Symptoms of Compulsiveness

Repetitive actions – examples – arranging items in an orderly manner and then repeating it, repeatedly cleaning self and other things to maintain hygiene, verbal repetitions, repetitive movements of the limbs and some other motor functions, ritualistic repetitions of certain actions at fixed intervals during the day, counting notes repeatedly, repeatedly checking something like the door lock, stove, switches or the car, etc.
Interactions – examples – repeatedly asking the same question in a different manner each time which can be very annoying, repeatedly going to the same place or meeting the same person day after day, dressing in the same manner or clothes to feel perfect and orderly, repeatedly checking on relatives or family members to reassure self of their wellbeing, etc.
Accumulating – examples – hoarding items like food items, tools, various denominations of currency notes, collecting garbage items even if they are beyond repair for fear of not having them when necessary, etc.

The thoughts and actions sometimes border on extreme and can cause injury either to the person suffering from OCD or to someone around him. People ending up in hospitals with raw hands caused by repetitive washing are a common example of OCD. Others may end up with a similar kind of damage due to repeated washing, cleaning and rubbing. In some instances the affected person may repeatedly move certain items away or keep them in the same order which makes him comfortable, but which may not be taken kindly by others. This can lead to a conflict. All these are examples of OCD symptoms.

Such symptoms may peak at a certain period in the life of the person. As the person ages and learns from his experience, he may gain some degree of control over his thoughts and actions and the OCD symptoms may abate. While in others, it may get exaggerated.

If such OCD symptoms are observed in children, a careful diagnosis is required. The symptoms of OCD in children can also indicate Tourette syndrome, depression, anxiety etc.

Obsessive compulsive disorder can be a harassment and very distressing to those afflicted by it. The affected need a lot of care and encouragement to overcome this condition. Hence it’s necessary to recognize OCD symptoms early and seek proper care.