Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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Are You Obsessive?
Can’t stop worrying about plane crashes? Constantly thinking about germs? Cannot find the “off button” in your head? Disturbing or unwanted thoughts which are repetitive are called obsessions.

Or Compulsive?
Do you feel pressure to check and re-check the door, the stove, the lights, or must you eat food in a specific way? Do you feel calmer once you have checked or done “your thing?” The intense need, to repeat an unproductive action, is called a compulsion.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
(also known as OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a psychological problem that is driven by anxiety.

People with obsessions may develop compulsions as a way to reduce their worries and fears. Often people with OCD actually feel relieved after doing their unique ritual. The action makes them feel safe…until the next disturbing thought or feeling overwhelms them.


Common Obsessions

Perfection: Extreme need to have the perfect body, the best job, or the very superior child.

Disasters: Constant fear of plane crashes, fires, bombings, and similar tragedies.
Illness: Distrust in doctors, hyper-awareness of, or disgust of bodily functions; fear of contamination.
Sexuality: Fear of being bisexual, homosexual or asexual.

Medical Concerns
Can’t stop obsessing about that pounding in your chest? Despite EKG’s and stress tests you are sure that the doctor missed the correct diagnosis. There must be something wrong because the cardiologist takes so much time as he carefully reviews the tests. After all, Mom has heart problems so it seems reasonable to be so anxious. Wouldn’t you be worried sick?


Knock on Wood?
Every time your son is up at bat, must he wear his lucky hat, wiggle his nose and turn his head three times? Baseball players use more rituals than most athletes, but many people feel they have to repeat a series of actions in order to have good luck, or, to avoid bad luck or evil spirits.

Just Checking!
Do you feel compelled to check on things that may seem ridiculous to others? The key to compulsive checking is how frequently you need to check; and the kind of thing that needs to be checked. If checking is a frequent activity you may have obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Common Compulsions

Picking: scabs, pimples, noses, cuticles, often till the person is bleeding.
Checking: lights, gas, doors, locks, body parts and looking for robbers, ghosts, monsters, etc.
Counting: calories, stairs, money or doing things an odd or even amount of times.
Washing: hands, body parts, door knobs, brushing teeth excessively.