Do you have OCD?
OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder, is not a new thing to our society. Even popular Hollywood stars like David Beckham suffer from the condition. As it names suggest, it consists of two main things, which are obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions can be in the form of thoughts, images or urges which are repetitive, recurrent, unable to be resisted, recognised as own thoughts and irrational and most importantly it will cause functional impairment. In other words, you will keep thinking about something over and over again and you are unable to stop that thought.
As for compulsions, they have the same characteristics of obsessions and are either repeated physical acts like cleaning or checking or mental acts like counting. It also means you will keep doing the same thing like cleaning over and over again until the thought of cleaning disappears.
I believe most of us are aware of this problem but actually, some OCD patients do not recognize their obsessions and compulsions as unreasonable or excessive. In this article, I hope we can all spend some of our time to read and answer these questions and recognise the symptoms of OCD in our life. If you are one of the victims of OCD, get proper treatment now and prevent it from ruining your life. Remember that there are millions of people who are suffering from this problem but with proper treatment, they got their life back. So, do you have OCD?
1. Do You Have Repeated Thoughts That Keep Intruding in Your Awareness?
As I mentioned earlier, these thoughts keep on coming to you without you realising it. These will eventually make you unable to focus on your work or even disturb your sleep. You may also fail to replace them with other thoughts because they will overpower all the other thoughts that you were having.
2. How Often do You Get These Thoughts?
If it happens only once, you might as well ignore them. However, it will become pathological if the thoughts keep on coming to you, every second, every minute, and every hour of your day.
3. Can You Stop These Thoughts or do You Have Control over These Thoughts?
I mentioned this earlier. Even if we tried to resist them, it will be useless as we can neither control nor stop these thoughts. If we try to resist them, it will make us more anxious.
4. What is the Content of These Thoughts?
What is the difference between worries and obsessive thoughts? Worries can sometimes keep on playing in our mind and sometimes it is very hard to make them stop. However, it is very much different from obsessive thoughts. Worries are a series of distressing thoughts about real-life problems. For example, like worrying about our sick parents or worrying about us being unemployed. As for obsessive thoughts, the content is on trivial unimportant issues. It can be only one issue or multiple issues. Example of obsessions are obsessions with contamination, impending danger, symmetry, obsessional doubts, obsessional rumination, obsessional blasphemy, obsessions of sexual themes, obsessions of death.
5. Are These Your Own Thoughts?
Do you recognise these thoughts as your own thoughts and not inserted by an external force? I wanted to mention this because there are other psychiatric disorders in which a patient feels that there is an external force who is trying to put thoughts in their head and they do not recognise them as their own thoughts. So, it is very important that an OCD patient recognises the thoughts as their own.
6. Do You Recognize Them as Silly, Irrational Thoughts or Genuine Thoughts?
These are other important components to diagnosing OCD. The person must feel that the thoughts are silly, irrational and genuine. Even if they think that the thoughts are irrational, there is no way to make the thoughts stop recurring.
7. How do You Feel when You Have These Thoughts?
8. Do You do Anything Repeatedly to Reduce the Distress?
Here is where compulsion takes place. As I mentioned before, it is either repeated physical acts or mental acts. For example, if a person has obsessions of contamination, they will have cleansing rituals or if they have doubts, they will have checking rituals. Repeated acts are done to reduce their anxiety. However, these can only give brief relief and they have to repeat the same act all over again.
9. How do These Symptoms Affect Your Daily Life?
If these symptoms affect your daily life or in other words, if they restrict your daily activities, you might need to take action ASAP.