Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is often used to describe individuals who are obsessed with organization and cleanliness.
For example, if an individual likes to keep his or her things or always arranges in a certain way, then it is assumed that he or she is suffering from OCD.
This is however not be the case always. Most people use the term “OCD” without considering the standard medical descriptions.
Additionally, referring to someone as OCD can hurt his or her feelings and downplay the seriousness of this condition. Doing so can also have serious negative effects on people who have the condition.
OCD can be manifested in different ways like being afraid of getting sick, excessive cleanliness or always trying to keep things in a certain organized manner.
When you observe such behavior from a friend or family member, it would be wise not to call them out but rather seek to understand the signs and symptoms of OCD.
Symptoms of OCD
There are several OCD symptoms and sometimes they might vary from one person to another.
Here are the most common symptoms as per the DSM-V classification:
- Suppressing or ignoring obsessions
- Persistent and recurrent thoughts – seen as intrusive and often lead to distress and anxiety
- Repetitive behavior such as hand washing that the patient feels. The behaviors are meant to prevent or minimize distress but are extreme and not connected to reality
OCD symptoms from a medical perspective
According to medical professionals and therapists from Talkspace, the most common features of OCD include obsession, repetitive thoughts, recurrent behavior, and compulsions among others.
Recent statistics from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reveal that more than two million Americans are affected by OCD.
What causes OCD?
There is still little information about the exact cause of OCD. The only major sign is whether there is someone in your family with a similar condition – just like in other mental disorders.
There are high chances that brain psychology and genetics play a significant role in OCD. “We believe that brain functioning plays a significant role in OCD – especially the part of neurotransmitter serotonin” asserts one therapist who works with Talkspace.
However, that doesn’t rule out the role played by environmental factors. Cultural influences and traumatic events may also contribute to a number of OCD symptoms.
Dr. Sinclair says that individuals raised in an environment where heterosexuality is not valued can easily develop sexual-identity focused obsession – since it is identified as feared content by his or her brain. Or somebody who lost his or her loved one through a car accident may become obsessed with the idea of hit-and-run accidents.
Treatment of OCD
Although there is little information about the causes of OCD, there are a number of treatments used to manage the condition. If you suspect to have any of the above OCD symptoms, then the first thing is to seek professional help.
There are companies such as Talkspace that specialize in helping individuals with mental health issues. You can access their services through a mobile app and get help from your preferred therapist.