Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which a patient has unreasonable fears and obsessions that engage him in repetitive behaviors (compulsions) aimed at reducing anxiety.
A person suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder may perfectly understand that the obsessions are not realistic and even try to pay no attention to them or bring them to an end. In most of the cases, this attempt fails to work and actually increases person’s sorrow and anxiety. The repetitive acts person performs serve to give a relief from obsession-related anxiety.
Obsessive-compulsive disorders are usually linked with certain themes. For example, person that unreasonably fears of being contaminated by germs will obsessively was hands and clean the house in order to reduce anxiety. However, despite all of the efforts, unreasonable fears always come back leading to more and more repetitive habits. Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder include both obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions or intrusive thoughts include repetitive, persistent and undesired ideas, impulses that patient has involuntarily, and that make no sense.
Obsessions are often linked with more general topics like fear of contamination or dirt, having things tidily and symmetrical, violent or aggressive impulses, sexual imagery and thoughts.
The fears often involve obsessions like: Fear of being contaminated by physical contact with other person or by touching the objects the others have touched; Doubts about locking the door or turning off the stove; Thoughts about hurting someone in a traffic accident; Serious unpleasant feeling if things are not set orderly or facing the right way; Images of hurting a child; Impulses to shout obscene things in inappropriate situations; Escaping the situations that may activate the obsessive symptoms (such as shaking hands with friends); Dermatitis caused by frequent hand washing; Skin lesions caused by skin picking; Hair loss or bald spots because of the hair pulling.Compulsion symptoms
Compulsions are repetitive actions that person feels driven to perform in order to reduce anxiety related to obsessions. Persons suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder often make up rituals that help them control distress.
Compulsions, like obsessions, typically have themes such as washing and cleaning, counting, checking, asking for reassurances, performing the same acts repeatedly, and orderliness.
Often seen compulsions include:Hand washing until skin turns raw;Checking repeatedly if the doors are locked;Checking repeatedly if the stove is turn off;Counting in certain patterns;Insisting that objects are perfectly aligned and facing the same way.Obsessive disorder is close to normal perfectionism, but it is a mental health condition. It can be extremely disabling for patients. If the condition rules most of persons days, and a person feels very distressed but powerless to stop the urges, than it might be good to see a doctor and seek a professional help.