What Is OCD?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) has several symptoms which usually relate to either or both of the obsession or compulsion sides of the disorder.To the outside world, these may seem like weird and bizarre rituals, but they are actually coping mechanisms for most sufferers. These rituals include frequently washing hands and clothes, obsessive checking and counting, and refusing to throw anything away.
ObsessionsObsessive behaviour is a key part of obsessive compulsive disorder. Obsessive behaviour can take several forms, including:
- Recurrent negative thoughts, impulses and images that invade the mind, and persistently cause anxiety and discomfort
- The attempted suppression of these thoughts, impulses and images
Unlike general anxiety disorder, these negative thoughts are more than simply an exaggerated form of everyday worries. Sufferers will invariably spend a considerable amount of time trying to quash them (to no avail), which causes significant distress and anxiety.
CompulsionsOCD sufferers are prone to compulsive behaviour. This can occur in conjunction with obsessive behaviour, or it may exist alone. As with obsessions, compulsive behaviour is intended to counteract the fear of a specific event happening.
- Repeatedly checking behaviour, such as frequently washing your hands and clothes (for fear of contamination), checking the lights are switched off, electrical appliances are turned off and that the doors are locked. In many cases, this can involve several trips back to make sure that the switch was definitely flipped or that the door was definitely locked, just to make doubly sure
- Repetitive mental activities, such as silently chanting specific words and phrases, and constantly checking or counting things
- The desire to maintain a tight control over the arrangement of items. For example, celebrity OCD sufferer David Beckham has admitted that he will only allow there to be three cans in the fridge, and any additional cans must be put in a cupboard instead. Any alteration to this preferred arrangement can cause a considerable amount of distress and anxiety
Obsessive compulsive disorder sufferers tend to perform what are seen as bizarre rituals such as frequently washing hands and clothes. These symptoms can be both obsessive and compulsive. OCD sufferers often feel that they need to perform these rituals to be able to get through their daily lives, despite the fact that they cause a good deal of distress to both themselves and the people around them.They also take up a significant amount of time, as OCD sufferers repeatedly feel the need to go through their specific rituals for fear of “inviting” something bad to happen if they do not do so. Because of this, OCD and its symptoms can have a very debilitating effect on sufferers with regards to their health, mind-set and social relationships.