10 Signs You May Have OCD

How do you know if you have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder) affects 1% of the United States adult population.  Is your closet organized by color or another preference?  Are you obsessed with sanitizer?  Do you need to wash your hands a hundred times?  When you go overboard and you need to have things a certain way, you need to seek professional help quickly.

According to Jeff Szymanski, PhD, executive director of the International OCD Foundation, a Boston-based advocacy organization. Still, there are certain patterns that may indicate the full-blown disorder. Here are 10 of the most common.


Here are some signs you may have OCD:

1.  Hand washing: The urge commonly stems from a fear of germs (the most common obsession seen in OCD), but it also can be rooted in fears of making others sick or of being impure or immoral. Seek help when you have a fear of not scrubbing away the germs hard enough or you have anxiety of catching a disease, such a HIV from a shopping cart or if you’re too compulsive.  Having to wash your hands and getting all the dirt under your nails or in every crevice a certain amount of times could be signs to seek help.

2.  Extreme Cleaning:  These people have the disorder of cleaning excessively.  Much like hand washing, housecleaning eliminates the feeling of germs or contamination.  You may think cleaning the germs could annihilate the feeling of being dirty, but the next time you clean may be even be a stronger desire to get rid of the germs.

3.  Checking Behavior:  Affecting nearly 30% of people with OCD, this behavior checks to see if the stove was turned off or if the door was locked four or five times.  It can be a driven by several induced behaviors, such as being petrified of getting hurt or an in grained irrationality.

4.  Counting:  A few people with this OCD disorder do tasks according to a certain numeric pattern or count out things they do everyday (count the number of brushing strokes or the number of stairs while climbing).  These behaviors are sometimes believed to be superstitious in which they feel if they climb a certain of stairs 7 times they feel relieved.  It’s advisable to seek help if you can’t get numbers out of your head.

5.  Organization:  People with this particular OCD tend to organize to achieve perfectionism.  Szymanski, author of The Perfectionist’s Handbook, mentions that It has to feel just right, look just right, be symmetrical, be the right number of items.  They tend to be fussy and obsessed about order or symmetry.  For instance, people with this disorder have a necessity to organize their desk to relieve their anxiety.


6.  Fear of Violence:  There’s nothing wrong with the probability of a violent or terrifying event happening.  People with this habit tend to suppress the fear violence or intensify their feelings towards violence.  However, if you are overly concerned about getting robbed in public or you call your mother several times a day to make sure she’s alright then you might need to seek counseling.

7.  Unwanted Sexual Thoughts:  Reoccurring unwanted thoughts about inappropriate or taboo sexual behavior frequently occur in OCD individuals.  These patients imagine they are going to grope their co-worker or molest a child or have thoughts if they are gay or straight.  Someone with OCD believe these thoughts are terrible and no one else has them.  Apparently, it’s a problem when you change your actions based on these thoughts by avoiding gay people or someone you thought of sexually.

8.  Dwelling on Relationships:  People with OCD are known to obsessively dissect their relationships with friends, coworkers, romantic partners, and family members.  For instance, they believe a slight misunderstanding with a family member might have affected another person’s marriage or relationship or you might think a comment might have upset a co-worker.  You might take things too far as to feel responsible for a relationship and you might have a difficult time accepting unpredictability.  Anyone could take a break up of a girlfriend or boyfriend really hard.  However, if you think something is always your fault or if you have lots of doubts and believe you are a terrible person then maybe it’s time to seek some professional counseling.

9.  Seeking reassurance:  In order for someone with OCD to relieve their anxiety is by asking their friends and family for their opinion.  Now we all do this sometimes in our life, but if you continually ask your friend the same question constantly about the same thing then it could be a compulsive behavior.  If a loved one catches you asking them repeatedly about the same subject then maybe you should seek some advice.

10.  Hating how you look:  According to health.com, Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a condition related to OCD in which people fixate on a part of their body they consider abnormal or unattractive—often their nose, skin, or hair.  The dominated thoughts of BDD is similar to OCD, for instance they both worry how they look and how clean they are.  It’s normal to feel uneasy about your figure sometimes, but people with OCD spend hours looking at themselves in the mirror.  Soon you isolate yourself from people and value what others think about you too much.  If you have this obsessive behavior and spend too much time evaluating how you look then it’s time to see someone about it.


health.com  10 signs You may have OCD by


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22819678  OCD and BDD disorders

A comparison of insight in body dysmorphic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.


Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI 02903, USA. Katharine_Phillips@brown.edu


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