Are you a neat freak, super organized or have personality quirks? These things describe a lot of people. With OCD joked about so often and no standard diagnosis for it, it can be hard to tell when someone really has it. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is marked by obsessive thoughts and compulsions. With OCD these thoughts and actions are due to persisting needs rather than personality preferences or wants. So how do you know then if your habits are symptoms of OCD that needs treatment?
Everyone does, and should, wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. For people with OCD though, hand washing or the use of hand sanitizer stems from a fear of germs, impurity or being immoral. If you think about germs even after washing your hands, worry you didn’t scrub hard enough, having irrational fears about diseases or have elaborate hand-washing routines (like washing five times, every time) you might have OCD and should seek treatment.
Many people like their home clean but people with OCD will clean excessively. There’s no time spent cleaning that signals OCD but rather it’s about the consequence of stopping. People with OCD will be incredibly anxious or fearful if they don’t clean or stop midway.
It’s normal to double check if the stove is turned off before you leave the house or double check the doors are locked before bed. However, when these checking behaviors become excessive, compulsive and ritualistic it might be a sign of OCD. People with OCD might feel the need to check the over exactly five times and these checking behaviors can interfere with their daily life.
Numbers and OCD go together a lot of the time. People with OCD may feel the need to perform tasks according to numeric patterns, count everyday things or perform a task a certain number of times. Examples of these could be flicking a light switch off twenty times before you leave the room. If you can’t get numbers out of your head or it impacts you or anyone else you should consider seeking treatment.
Being organized is not only sensible but it’s also beneficial for mental health. When it’s done to the extreme though it can have the opposite effect. People with OCD have to make things look right, feel right, be symmetrical or have the right number of items. Your organization might be due to OCD if it’s not out of desire but rather out of need, such as if a pencil out of line produces intense anxiety.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is often joked about in our society. It’s downplayed and tossed around without a second thought. Many people don’t see it as that serious of a mental illness. Who wouldn’t want that extra push to organize and clean? But OCD can be a rehabilitating illness if not acknowledged and treated. People with OCD feel they have no control over their life and feel controlled by their compulsions. If you feel like you may have OCD contact a psychiatrist today to get help.