How do you know you have an obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the disruptive behaviors that impair a person’s functioning. People who have this type of abnormal behavior found their actions disturbing and seemingly unmanageable.
How do we know that a person suffers OCD?
Before answering this question, let me define what obsessive-compulsive disorder is. OCD has two components; thoughts and actions. Let’s further break down these two concepts.
Components of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
1. Obsession is defined as repetitive thoughts, urges or images. These thoughts are strong enough to initiate action.
2. Unlike obsession, compulsion is a repetitive behavior or action caused by repetitive thoughts, urges or images in an individual’s mind.
Okay, so how do you know that you have OCD? The following are some of the indicators.
Common characteristics of persons with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
1. Washing hands repeatedly
Taking a bath or washing hands is part of keeping our body clean. But extreme hand washing is not normal. People with OCD are obsessed with cleanliness. They wash their hands many times even if they know it’s not necessary.
2. Obsessed with ordering or stuff arrangement
Normally, you organize your things at home. You put them in the right places. But people with OCD, they don’t just arrange things, they organize things in detail. They make sure that everything is precise.
3. Constant checking
People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are always making sure that everything is done properly leaving no stone unturned. Sounds nothing is inappropriate right? This is what we normally do (at least I do). But it’s not if you have OCD. People with this disorder check their stuff constantly even they know that everything is in place or nothing is wrong. Whenever they leave their house they check the door many times even they know it is already closed.
These are just a few example indicators of obsessive-compulsive disorder. There are many signs of OCD that you might currently be experiencing. To make sure whether or not you have OCD, try to find experts in human behavior such as psychiatrist, psychologist, and the like. These people are specialist in this area.
What makes obsessive-compulsive a disorder? Well, if you noticed above, the behaviors that caused by OCD are beyond normal. They usually impair a person from functioning efficiently. One of the basic criteria for disorder or abnormality is when a behavior interferes a person with performing tasks efficiently.
The National Institute of Mental Health listed four common habits of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
1. Can’t control his or her thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive
2. Spends at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts or behaviors
3. Doesn’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but may feel brief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
4. Experience significant problems in their daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors
What causes obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Many factors have been linked to the development of OCD; biological, environmental and cognitive.
Some studies suggest that some parts of the brain that are associated with primitive actions such as aggression and sexuality are more active in people who have OCD.
On the other hand, cognitive-behavioral theories suggest that obsession is caused by the presence of intrusive thoughts. While compulsive behaviors develop through operant conditioning.
How to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder?
There are two leading treatments for OCD. It involves biological and cognitive behavioral therapies.
Biological treatments, of course, involve antidepressant drugs.
Cognitive-behavioral therapies, however, offers a drug-free solution. In this technique, a person with OCD will be deliberately exposed to something that causes his/her obsession. A person is constrained from responding to compulsive behavior during a therapy session.
Obsessive-compulsive is a disorder that impairs an individual’s daily life functioning. But like any problem, this disorder is curable. Thanks to the continuous progress in scientific research that produced a number of available therapeutic techniques.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.