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What are Common OCD Symptoms?
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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a serious psychological disorder in which people have thoughts and sensations that cause them to repeatedly feel driven to do certain things. These compulsions can range from having to arrange objects in a certain way every time, or having to wash one’s hands repeatedly, to the point of rubbing one’s hands raw. The compulsions are unwanted and intrusive and often make living life normally very difficult for the person experiencing the symptoms. These thoughts and feelings include:

You are afraid of germs, poisons, or other contaminants in your environment and food
You are afraid of hurting someone else or harm coming to someone you care about
You are afraid of making a mistake
You are afraid of behaving or being perceived in an embarrassing or socially unacceptable manner
You are afraid of aggressive, evil or terrible thoughts that scroll through your mind unbidden and unwanted
You need things to be orderly and in their correct place
You are always very worried and need constant reassurance
You have repetitious worries or doubts

The outward manifestations of these feelings are:

You are afraid of being contaminated when shaking hands or touching objects others have touched
You are unsure whether you´ve shut off the lights, locked the door, or turned off the stove
You worry that you´ve hit someone with your car
You get very upset when objects are not arranged in the correct way
You are afraid of hurting your child or other loved one
You feel a compulsion to shout obscene words at inappropriate times
You have phobic avoidance of anxiety producing situations
You have unwanted pornographic images play through your mind
Your skin is dry and chapped from frequent hand washing
You have skin lesions from nervously picking at the skin on your hands or other places.
You pull your hair and have some hair loss or baldness as a result.

The most common compulsions and the ones associated with OCD are:

Repeatedly bathing, showering or washing hands
Refusing to shake hands or touch doorknobs
Repeatedly checking things, such as locks or stoves
Constant counting, mentally or aloud, while performing routine tasks
Constantly arranging things in a certain way
Eating foods in a specific order
Being stuck on words, images or thoughts, usually disturbing, that won´t go away and can interfere with sleep
Repeating specific words, phrases or prayers
Needing to perform tasks a certain number of times
Collecting or hoarding items with no apparent value
Needing constant reassurance

There is no pleasure from satisfying these compulsions, but rather just a temporary respite from the feelings of anxiety caused by them. This means that the person lives in a constant cycle of anxiety as they deal with one compulsion and then are immediately confronted with another. It’s an intrusive problem that keeps people with OCD from other tasks and activities.

OCD is a very serious disorder, and greatly impacts the life of the patient and often the lives of those around them. If you find yourself experiencing many of these feelings, or you are exhibiting these symptoms, OCD may be a potential diagnosis. However, always consult a medical professional instead of trying to self-diagnose. Luckily, there is medication for OCD, though it’s effectiveness often varies from person to person. There is also behavior therapy which can be used to help lessen the impact OCD has on one’s daily life. The process is called exposure and response prevention. In the process, the patient faces their compulsions gradually, and works on slowly weaning themselves away from doing them. Medication and behavior therapy work for different people, and sometimes the best treatment is a combination of both.

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