10 Telltale Signs of OCD You Shouldn’t Ignore
Someone who double checks door locks or makes sure the stove’s not on is exercising good common sense. Someone who feels compelled to do so on a repeated basis for no rational reason may well be struggling with signs of OCD.
Obsessions and compulsions most distinguish OCD (also known as obsessive-compulsive disorder) from a handful of other social anxiety disorders. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, signs of OCD take shape within a person’s thinking and behavior patterns.
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If you suspect you or someone you known may be showing signs of OCD, here are 10 telltale signs you shouldn’t ignore –
- While hand washing does help reduce the likelihood of catching a cold or the flu, excessive hand washing becomes a compulsion that gets out of control. Someone showing signs of OCD will likely experience extreme anxiety when unable to carry out this task at will.
- Someone obsessed with safety may spend unusually large amounts of time locking and relocking windows and doors throughout the day. This compulsion can actually make it difficult to get to work on time or meet important appointments.
- While no one wants to be embarrassed in public, someone with OCD takes unreasonable measures to avoid social embarrassment. This may entail spending hours in the mirror doing and redoing one’s hair or make-up on a daily basis.
- Feeling the need to touch certain things like car antennas or flat surfaces may also be a sign of OCD. A person may also feel compelled to touch things in a certain sequence along the way.
- People struggling with OCD may experience obsessive thoughts, some of which may be repulsive or out of character for them, such as committing violent acts or sexual fantasies.
- For some people, the compulsion to count things takes on a life of its own. A person feels driven to count ceiling tiles, cars in a parking lot or trees in a park on a regular basis.
- In cases where someone has a strong religious background, signs of OCD may take the form of intrusive thoughts that go against his or her religious beliefs.
- For some people, symmetry becomes an obsession in terms of having to line up their surroundings in symmetrical fashion, such as lining up silverware on the table or pictures on the walls.
- On average, people affected by OCD spend a minimum of one hour per day engaging in obsessive thinking and/or compulsive behaviors. Ultimately, these behavior displays become daily rituals that must be carried out.
- Someone affected by OCD symptoms experiences great anxiety and distress from their obsessive thoughts, and the loss of control over their behavior.
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What most distinguishes signs of OCD from someone who’s just prone to worry is the extent to which worrisome thoughts and behaviors disrupt his or her ability to function in daily life. Once signs of OCD start to cause problems in one or more life areas (work, family, home life, social interactions), it’s time to consider getting professional help.