Do I have OCD?
Every one of us is a participant in certain ritualistic behaviors. Not only is it expected of us by society, but we recognize that tradition and ceremony serve symbolic functions. Church services, weddings, holidays, sports competitions all have a basis in ritual. When we take part in these events we follow predetermined, established, and conventional behaviors, and in doing so we experience a sense of continuity, stability and purpose. We feel a certain comfort and security in the doing of our learned rituals.
People suffering from an anxiety disorder also known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) take their behaviors to the point of liturgical absurdity. As the name implies, this illness has two facets –
- Recurrent, persistent ideas, thoughts or impulses which are perceived, at least initially, as unbidden, intrusive and senseless
- Symptoms: fear of contamination/germs, unwanted thoughts about sex, harm, or religion, harmful thoughts towards him/herself or others, having things look symmetrical or put in a perfect order
- The need to perform common, everyday motions in a repetitive, senseless manner
- May be in response to the original obsessive ideas or it may be established according to certain rules or in a stereotyped fashion.
- Symptoms: excessive hand washing to the point of their hands being raw, excessive cleaning, doing things in a particular way every time, repeatedly checking things, constant counting.
Sometimes the individual believes that careful performance of the ritual will ward off danger to himself or others. While these individuals know perfectly well that their behavior is illogical, they are unable to stop. The behavior is controlling the person, not the other way around.
The growing awareness that this affliction is, in fact, a genuine psychiatric disorder which needs professional help is bringing many people to therapy who might have suffered without hope in the past.
American Behavioral Clinics offers a variety of help to those suffering with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We have many psychiatrists, psychologist and therapists that can help you take control of your life back. Some of these services include medication management, individual and group therapy.
When to See a Professional
There is a difference between being Obsessive Compulsive and being a “perfectionist”. A perfectionist is an individual who expects flawless performance in areas of their lives. OCD is when the excessive, worrisome thoughts overtake an individual’s life. It interrupts their quality of life. Once this happens, it is time to see a professional.