Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or simply OCD is a psychological disorder in which irrational thoughts and fears (obsessions) force a person towards repetitive behaviors (compulsions).
At a later stage a person suffering from OCD can have serious anxiety management issues or can even lose the ability to function in a normal manner.
The cause for OCD is not well known however, the good news is that in a lot of cases it is still manageable and an early diagnosis can really help. Even though, OCD onset generally begins before a person is 25 years of age (usually during the childhood or adolescence); it is unfortunate that people around the globe particularly, the ones living in the third world are mostly unable to receive assistance at a point where the disorder is still easy to treat. This normally happens owing to lack of knowledge on the subject.
Therefore, in order to raise awareness on the topic I decided to prepare a list of symptoms that should make it easy for a layperson to identify a person who is either at risk or is already suffering from the psychological disorder.
1. Washing and Cleaning
Obsessions can give rise to fear of contamination that in result can lead towards compulsions or repetitive behaviors such as washing hands to the point where the skin becomes raw, avoidance to shake hands or touch objects that someone else has touched and cleaning a given object or place repeatedly etc.
2. Repetition of a Word, Phrase or a Prayer
An OCD patient can suffer as a result of constant inappropriate thoughts that he/she believes has no control over. This includes a flow of thoughts that can be against the ethical and religious values of the person for example, violent or blasphemous expressions etc.
In a hope to find a temporary relief from the anxiety that is caused due to the aforesaid, the patient consciously or unconsciously develops the habit of repeating a word, phrase or a prayer.
3. Doubts and Worries
OCD can certainly result in developing unrealistic worries and doubts in the mind of the person who is suffering from it. For example, a person might fear a catastrophe owing to fire and may then check if the stove has been turned off properly. However, only after a few minutes there is a doubt that forces the same person to recheck the same stove repeatedly. Other such actions can include checking the car or main doors of the house etc.
Similarly, OCD patients might as well be superstitious and be very particular about stuff that they believe can bring good or bad luck to them.
4. Symmetry and Order
People suffering from OCD can be perfectionists by nature and might just want things to be lined up in a flawless manner. This urge can then result in extreme anxiety when objects have not been arranged in an orderly manner.
Moreover, as the disorder worsens the search for perfect objects and items can also lead towards a habit of hoarding. The OCD sufferer might then have a very hard time throwing stuff away that is no longer required.
It is important to note here the fact that the list of symptoms provided in this article is only a guide for a layperson so that he/she is able to identify the point where there is a need to seek professional help. A formal diagnosis and the treatment should always be left to a medical professional or a doctor who is obviously in a better position to decide a future course of action.