Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety related disorder in which individuals experience repetitive thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviors that cause them to engage in ritualistic habits or compulsions. These repetitive habits are intended to help reduce feelings of apprehension, fear or worry, but the disorder can be incredibly debilitating when left untreated, and often exists alongside other disorders, such as substance abuse or anorexia.
What are some of the signs that a person may have an OCD?
Typically, sufferers may experience intense fears related to the causing of harm to themselves or others, of being polluted by germs and bacteria, and of losing their possessions, and they often believe strongly that everything must be symmetrical. These are just a few of the most common indicators that someone may have an OCD, and while many are able to control their beliefs and fears, others struggle, and these symptoms can begin to take over their lives.
Typical patterns of behavior for someone with an OCD can include excessive washing of hands, unnecessary hoarding, repetitive habits such as tapping or counting, and an obsessive urge to rearrange and tidy things.
The link between OCD’s and other disorders:
Research has shown that having an OCD means you are more likely to suffer from another type of disorder, too, such as an eating disorder. Characterized by behaviors that are like those found in OCD sufferers, someone with an eating disorder often experiences compulsions to hoard food items, think obsessively about calories and food, and/or may display ritualistic tendencies such as cutting food symmetrically.
The two disorders can be closely intertwined by a constant desire to seek and obtain perfection.
What treatment should someone suffering from either, or both, disorders seek?
In many cases, the underlying issues that are causing both disorders are not rare, and once uncovered and treated, any related compulsive behaviors can be improved upon greatly. While medical intervention may be required, particularly if an eating disorder has caused nutritional deficiencies, many find talk therapies to be very helpful, and they learn strategies and techniques for coping with the emotions that cause them to behave in a compulsive manner.
As with anything that inhibits your ability to live life to its fullest, acknowledging that you have a problem and seeking swift help, often determines the speed and success of your rehabilitation. If you think you may have a compulsive disorder, or any disorder that is affecting your daily life, please don’t sweep it under the rug, and please don’t ever think that you’re beyond help. Talk to a mental health professional who can help you determine the right course of action for your needs, and don’t delay; the rest of your life is waiting just around the corner!
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