Obsessions are involuntary and Compulsions are behaviors that you feel driven to repeatedly perform. Obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors don’t mean that a person suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The disorder itself will cause severe distress, takes up a lot of time, and will interfere with your daily routine.
Most people with this disorder fall in to one of these categories:
· Washers-fear contamination. They fear germs and have hand-washing or cleaning compulsions.
· Checkers-constantly check things over and over. Typically these items that are checked are associated with danger or harm. (security alarm on, oven off)
· Doubters and Sinners-are perfectionists. They fear that if things are not perfect or done right, they will be punished.
· Hoarders-fear getting rid of things. They fear bad things will happen when they throw out things regardless of whether they use the items or not.
· Counters and Arrangers-obsessed with symmetry and order. They are superstitious about colors, specific numbers, and arrangements.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder leads to nervous rituals which are alienating and very time-consuming. It can lead to severe financial and emotional distress.
Some of the most common obsessive thoughts include:
· Constant fear of harming yourself or others
· Excessive focus on moral and religious views
· Fear of losing or not having things you might need
· Constant fear of contamination from germs and dirt
· Intrusive sexually explicit or violent images and thoughts
· The need for order and symmetry
· The idea that things have to be “perfect
· Superstitions; obsessing over things that may or may not be lucky
Some of the most common compulsive thoughts include:
· Spending a good portion of the day cleaning and washing
· Repeatedly checking on loved ones to ensure their safety
· Double-checking things: such as locks, switches, and appliances
· Hoarding. Saving things that aren’t important like old newspapers
· Constantly arranging things
· Counting, tapping, repeating words which relieve anxiety
· Praying excessively or participating in religion due to religious fear
Many symptoms are similar to that of Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, a medical and psychological exam is crucial in order to properly diagnose the disorder.
There are four steps that will effectively help conquer the symptoms of OCD.
· RELABEL- You must first recognize the obsessive thoughts and urges that are a result of the disorder. For instance, “I’m having the crazy urge to wash my hands, but I don’t really need to wash them.”
· REFOCUS- Ignoring the disorder by focusing solely on something else.
· REVALUE- Don’t takes the disorder at face value. Ignore the urges and realize they only exist because of the disorder.
· REATTRIBUTE- Recognize the intensity and intrusiveness of the thought and urges caused by the disorder. These false messages from the brain that lead you to believe that you need to do something.
A doctor can help diagnose you if you think you suffer from OCD. They can confirm whether you suffer from the disorder itself, or just have symptoms that may look like you do.
“The basic principle behind behavioral therapy for OCD is that you cannot be bored and scared at the same time.” -Fred Prenzel