Have you heard about an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or are you maybe dealing with it? It’s an anxiety disorder that drives you to do something repetitively, even to the point where you can hurt yourself. E.g. if it makes you wash your hands or any part of your body multiple times a day it can cause your skin to become raw and start bleeding.
People around the world are dealing with a lot of types of OCD. Some of them are:
- accidental harm to self or others
- a need for perfection
- mental rituals
- washing or cleaning, etc.
Accidental harm to self or others is a fear of hurting someone through carelessness. And even though those thoughts are not normal to people who don’t have OCD, for people with it, thoughts of leaving the table not clean enough with germs still over it are horrible because one can get sick by touching them.
A need for perfection is probably the most widespread type. This type is most common for children. It’s developing at a very young age. Children can’t start doing their homework if their books are not perfectly arranged, some can’t eat if their food is not well arranged on the plate. When they get older they usually strive to have everything on the right place and if it’s not that way they can’t function normal until they rearrange it.
Contamination is also one of the bigger problems that people with OCD have. Most of them are scared to come in contact with germs, chemicals, dirt, etc. In their heads it’s like if they touch something dirty they think that they are going to get sick or maybe pass away.
Checking is a compulsion that can involve checking doors and locks, suitcases and backpacks, or even checking to see if a person close to them is okay. E.g. a great number of people can’t fall asleep without checking doors to see if they’re locked multiple times. There’s often a certain number in their head and if it’s not fulfilled, they won’t find peace.
Compulsion characteristic for teenagers is a mental ritual. This compulsion can’t be seen. Teens are performing rituals in their heads such as saying prayers or trying to replace bad thoughts with good ones, in many cases because of fear of God’s punishment.
Washing and cleaning is a compulsion that may lead to harming. Actually, most of these compulsions can harm people because they know to exaggerate. People that have contamination fears wash their hands to clean them off of germs and dirt so they have their rituals where they clean each finger, each fingernail individually. They often have red and chapped hands, and may even bleed. A good amount has rituals for showering, grooming, toothbrushing, etc., so they use different products that may cause redness and eventually infections, and with that serious problems may occur.
Cleaning is not much different, it’s tightly connected with washing. Same people that are dealing with washing are dealing with cleaning too. A need to have everything clean and perfect and expecting the same from others is always following them. This type of compulsion usually occurs in women. Some of them have large families that they neglect because of cleaning, their children are not allowed to play outside on the playground with other children because they might bring the dirt inside the house. It even goes that far where they don’t allow their children to go to school so they have to be homeschooled, they isolate them from the world at a very young age. When it comes to their houses, every little thing indoors has to be perfectly cleaned. Most of them don’t even have friends because no one can come into the house, and because they don’t have time for going out and doing fun stuff with others.
People with this type of OCD find different ways to satisfy their compulsions. A small amount works for companies that are dealing with cleaning or on their own. They clean other houses or offices instead of people who don’t care that much about their environment. Those people are called “collectors”, they get emotionally attached to things so they collect them and make their houses seem like a container. The ones with washing type of OCD can’t stand those people but the ones with just cleaning type of OCD are grateful because they are helping them by allowing them to come into their houses and clean everything.
By the last research, OCD is one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disabilities for individuals between 15 and 44 years of age. Millions of people are affected. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disorder, but getting relief from OCD is possible with the most effective treatment called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). This treatment is recommended by institutions such as National Institutes of Mental Health and Harvard Medical School. Only a qualified cognitive behavior therapist can provide effective CBT.
If you think that you’re suffering from OCD and that it’s getting worse seek for help with a medical professional. It can become very serious but there are treatments that are going to make it easier for you. Let professionals help you.