10 Signs You Could Be Suffering From OCD. Obsessions and compulsions are a normal part of human nature.
When your mind flashes with a disturbing thought, or you get an irresistible urge to do something you definitely shouldn’t do, you naturally begin to question your sanity. You might think: “Do other people get these unwelcome thoughts, or is something wrong with me?”
It turns out that obsessive-compulsive thinking is a completely normal phenomenon. According to research published in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 94% of the population experiences some kind of unwanted or intrusive thoughts.
But at what point do these random quirks and lapses in judgment become signs of mental distress, particularly Obsessive Compulsive DIsorder (OCD)? OCD is an anxiety disorder involving repetitive and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and ritualistic and uncontrollable behavior (compulsions). When these obsessions and compulsions start taking over your life, it might be time to get professionally tested for OCD.
Here are some signs you might be suffering from OCD.
Obsessive Self-Grooming Or Cleaning
This behavior is a common symptom for people suffering from contamination OCD. This type of OCD stems from a deep fear of germs, dirt, or any form of contamination. Hence, you might be terrified of shaking someone’s hand or hugging them. Moreover, you might avoid touching things and surfaces other people have touched, such as doorknobs.
These persistent fears can lead to excessive, almost ritualistic behaviors to help put your mind at ease. For example, you might wash your hands too often or spray down every doorknob with a disinfectant before turning it.
But regardless of what you do, your skin, hair, and body will never feel clean enough.
Overcleaning all surfaces in your surrounding is another symptom of contamination OCD, stemming from an unshakeable fear of contamination. Hence, you might spend every waking hour worrying about whether or not your surroundings are spotless.
Consequently, you might catch yourself cleaning for hours, overspending on cleaning supplies, creating off-limits “clean zones” in your house, or even shutting your doors to germ-ridden guests.
We’re all a little careless from time to time, such as when we’re rushing out the door without locking it behind us.
But someone with checking OCD can not physically leave their house without confirming they’ve switched everything off and locked all doors and windows. However, confirming once isn’t enough; even if they remember locking the door, the nagging OCD voice in their head gaslights them into believing they didn’t.
Even if they manage to finally leave the house after confirming everything is in order for the tenth time, these thoughts will still plague them the whole day.
Organization And Orderliness
Some level of order and organization is always good for a healthy and productive lifestyle. However, people with OCD take ordering and organizing things to an extreme level. For them, striving for order and organization isn’t a healthy want but an aching need.
If you have OCD, your anxiety will peak when things don’t look or feel a certain way. For example, it’s not enough to just section your drawers. Instead, you might not be at ease until all the sections fit like Tetris and each item is placed at just the right angle.
In other words, nothing short of perfect order and symmetry will suffice.
If you need to perform everyday tasks according to a numeric pattern, you likely have counting OCD.
For example, you might need to open and close your door a certain number of times before walking through it. Or you count each and every grain of cereal before consuming it. Perhaps it takes forever to leave your apartment because you’re stuck climbing up and down your stairs, or you need to ride the elevator a few times before stepping off.
Fear Of Violence
We all have the occasional dark and disturbing thoughts. The more we try to suppress these thoughts, the more difficult it becomes. Eventually, though, these fleeting thoughts blow over. But that’s not the case for people with OCD.
Instead, that persistent nagging voice keeps plaguing our minds with thoughts about violent behavior. This could involve harming others or yourself and other people harming you or your loved ones.
Intrusive Or Unwanted Thoughts
Intrusive thoughts are ones that pop up in your head out of nowhere, typically distressing, violent, or taboo in nature. Although everyone has intrusive thoughts from time to time, they are more frequent for people with OCD. As such, these people might feel overwhelming guilt for constantly having these thoughts.
An example of intrusive thoughts is unwanted and recurring thoughts about taboo sexual behavior, such as pedophilia or molestation. Alternatively, some people might constantly question their sexuality (homosexuality OCD).
Ruminations are similar to unwanted thoughts, the only difference being that ruminations aren’t violent, repulsive, or taboo. Instead, ruminations revolve around philosophical, metaphysical, or religious quandaries.
In other words, ruminations are contemplations with no answer. Hence, you start obsessing over these thoughts every waking hour, doing mental gymnastics, and completely draining yourself.
Dwelling On Relationships
OCD leaches into all aspects of your life, including your relationships.
Relationship OCD forces you to scrutinize your partner, dissect your relationship, and doubt your feelings. For example, you might pick apart every little thing about your partner or have difficulty trusting them.
Catering to these obsessions, you might excessively talk about your relationship with your friends, coworkers, family members, or your partner.
Demanding Reassurance From Others
The persistent obsessions and intrusive thoughts can engender extreme anxiety. As such, you might constantly seek reassurance from friends and family, doubting your own thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
For instance, you might keep probing your friends for their take on your relationship. Or you might constantly enquire from your guests whether your house is clean enough or not.
OCD is a complex anxiety disorder, of which the symptoms manifest differently for different people. When your obsessions and compulsions start disrupting your day-to-day life, it might be time to seek professional help. The road to recovery is difficult, and you might never truly get rid of your OCD. But you will be able to control it enough to regain control over your life.