Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Some people try to cope with severe anxiety by repeatedly performing a task that may calm their fears. For some, this repeated action constitutes obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD.) The symptoms of OCD include the presence of recurrent, persistent and unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images (also known as obsessions) and/or the performance of repetitive (often seemingly purposeful) ritualistic behaviors (also known as compulsions).
People obsessively worried about contamination, for example, may wash their hands repeatedly. Someone who fears causing harm may check something—such as whether the gas is turned off—over and over. While individuals with OCD are usually aware their behavior is irrational, they feel unable to stop.
Common symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder include:
Washing: Obsessed with dirt, contamination, germs or bugs, people with OCD may spend several hours each day washing or cleaning.
Checking: Individuals worried about harming others will repeatedly check to make sure stoves are turned off, for example, or that their doors are locked.
Repeating: Some people with OCD attempt to ease anxiety by repeating a name or phrase over and over.
Slowness: Taking an excessively slow and methodical approach to daily activities may bring some comfort to people with OCD. But individuals with this symptom are overly meticulous and tidy, often to the point where they are unable to function at home or work.
Hoarding: An obsessive need to acquire, save and protect objects even if they are worthless, unsanitary or hazardous. Compulsive hoarding causes significant clutter and impairment to basic living activities including mobility, cooking, cleaning, showering and sleeping. Hoarding typically has a negative impact on anyone living with the person who hoards and can render the home uninhabitable. "Hoarders find comfort in objects, which they see as more trustworthy than people who can let you down." - Mark Pfeffer, Director @ PARC as published in Chicago Tribune, August 10th, 2010.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) self assessment quick quiz
Take a moment to answer these quick questions and see if you're at risk for—or currently suffering from—obsessive-compulsive disorder:
- During the past month, did you have persistent irrational thoughts regarding death, illness, aggression or contamination?
- Do you spend excessive time each day washing, checking or counting?
- Do you experience unwanted ideas about dirt, germs or chemicals?
- Do you ever get the feeling that you must do certain things excessively, or think certain thoughts repeatedly, in order to feel comfortable?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, there's a chance you're suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). To learn how the Panic/Anxiety/Recovery Center can help you, or to schedule a consultation, please call us at 312-642-7952 or fill out our contact form.