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How to Tell if I Have OCD?

By October 2, 2018November 19th, 2020Dr. Jenny Yip, OCD
adult with OCD using hand sanitizer

As the use of technology within modern culture continues to rise, more and more people are becoming exposed to different disorders and health issues that they may not have known about before. This trend can have both positive and negative effects, depending on how it is used. One disorder that most people overlook or misuse is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). There are many misconceptions around the disorder, some of which include beliefs such as stress being the cause or that people who have OCD are always neat freaks. Because of these misconceptions many people will misdiagnose themselves or others. So what is OCD and how can you tell if you have it? Below are some of the common symptoms to help recognize OCD as well as ways to get treated.


Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessions are defined as repeated thoughts and urges that cause anxiety whereas compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors that people have the urge to do in response to certain thoughts. What some people don’t realize is that people do not always have both obsessions and compulsions, however, in any case of OCD these thoughts and behaviors are generally interfering with daily life and they are uncontrollable. Some OCD symptoms can include things like irrational fears, unwarranted thoughts involving sex, religion, or aggression, having things in a particular order, excessive cleaning or hand-washing, compulsive counting, repeatedly checking things, completing tasks in a specific order every time, and other similar behaviors and thoughts. Some people will also display physical tics like shrugging, excessive blinking, sniffing, coughing, and other brief repetitive movements. In Obsessive-Compulsive cases people will often know that their thoughts or behaviors are unusual and they often do not find pleasure in doing them, however, the disorder makes it so they are unable to quit because of the major anxiety that stopping causes.


Treatments for OCD

One form of treatment is called Cognitive-Behavior Treatment (CBT). This treatment combines behavior therapy and cognitive therapy to help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of OCD. This treatment helps to weaken your emotional connection to the obsession or compulsion so you can think more clearly and be able to resolve situations in a way that isn’t destructive to you or those around you. It also helps make you aware of your thoughts so that you can recognize and correct any negative thoughts before they become debilitating. Another form of treatment is called Exposure & Response Prevention. This particular treatment is used to help confront fears and worries in a way that makes them less threatening so you can eventually break free from the compulsion.

If you show any of the above symptoms and think that you might have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder you should seek out your doctor for a diagnosis so they can complete an evaluation and recommend the best steps for you to take. Although you may be hesitant at first to seek help, OCD can seriously affect your daily life if it isn’t taken seriously.


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