Most people tend to underestimate the seriousness of OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They make jokes about it, thinking that anything they do frequently, typically pleasurable things, makes them ‘obsessed’. However, OCD is nothing to joke about. In fact, it’s a life-altering mental condition. Don’t assume an obsession is the same thing. OCD can cause anxiety and generally make things difficult not only for the people who have it, but also for their families and friends. Because of the wide variety among OCD’s presentation, it is important that a professional make an official diagnosis to verify or rule out OCD.
Who is Affected
Fortunately, OCD only affects about 2% of the population; generally, the onset of symptoms is pretty clear early in life. By adulthood, most cases of OCD have already developed. However, as mentioned earlier, there are a number of people who will reference OCD as something they have, most likely unaware of what it really means to have OCD. It’s more than just not liking messy situations, and more than having a habit one likes to do. For a person who actually suffers from OCD, it’s not about personal preferences or desires, but actual compulsions- things that people absolutely MUST do.
What OCD Actually Is
OCD is classified as an anxiety disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). This might be one reason why otherwise healthy people claim that they have OCD: anxiety is something that is very common. However, it is only when it is constant, chronic, and extreme, like in cases of OCD and other disorders, that it becomes a serious problem. Generally, OCD prevents as extreme anxiety associated with specific triggers that in turn require the victim to take a particular action or perform a specific ritual so that the anxiety will abate. These compulsions can take on many different forms.
The unrelenting emotional overload brought on by OCD can be complicated. While what follows are some of the more common signs of OCD, a specific individual’s OCD may manifest in only some of these ways, or maybe none of them. It’s also possible that a person might exhibit one or two of these behaviors and *not* have OCD, hence the need for a professional evaluation, which may uncover a different anxiety disorder or something else. Do you or someone you know possibly have OCD, instead of just an obsession or strong desire? Here are some common signs to look for.