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.
It affects men, women and children, and can develop at any age. Some people develop the condition early, often around puberty, but it typically develops during early adulthood.
OCD can be distressing and significantly interfere with your life, but treatment can help you keep it under control.
We all double or triple check something on occasion. We forget if we’ve locked the door or wonder if we’ve left the water running, and we want to be certain. Some of us are perfectionists, so we go over our work several times to make sure it’s right. That’s not abnormal behavior. But if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you feel compelled to act out certain rituals repeatedly, even if you don’t want to — and even if it complicates your life unnecessarily.
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
- Involving yourself with support groups can be really beneficial as they provide reassurance and coping advice
- Eat healthy and well balanced diet
- Maintain a regular eating pattern
- Maintain adequate sleeping pattern
- Regular exercise is very beneficial
- Observe relaxation techniques like yoga and walking
- Avoid being bored. Involve yourself in good habits
- Avoid being in stressful situations
Things to watch out for
Contact your GP for further evaluation and treat because without treatment, it can become quite disabling.