People sometimes joke about having obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) when they need to keep doors closed or if they need to clean their homes. However, many people don’t realize that OCD goes beyond keeping things clean or organizing their belongings. You or someone you love could have OCD, so let’s talk about it and some of the signs you should look for.
What is OCD?
OCD is a disorder that causes people to have reoccurring negative thoughts. People become so focused on those thoughts that they can’t pay attention to other important tasks. These negative thoughts will continue to appear until the person does something to get rid of them. Once the person performs that action, the thoughts will subside or calm down until they resurface when the person faces another trigger.
These actions can vary between people with OCD. Some people need to check doors multiple times to make sure they’re locked. Others may need to do something as simple as touching the doorframe before they enter rooms. If they don’t do these things, they will either worry or feel like something bad will happen. The thoughts are known as obsessions, and the actions are compulsions.
Three Key Signs
If you want to know if you have OCD, keep your eyes open for these three signs.
Intrusive and Obsessive Thoughts
Obsessive and intrusive thoughts are the center of concern for people with OCD. These types of thoughts linger in your mind without going away. Many times, the thoughts may be taboo, negative, or even harmful. For example, you could worry that someone is mad at you, or you could worry that your house will get robbed.
Either way, when you try and do something important, those thoughts will appear in your mind and make it hard to focus. You can’t seem to get rid of them unless you perform a ritual. These thoughts can persist in your mind for days, weeks, and even months depending on the severity of your OCD. In short, obsessive thoughts that linger for a long time could indicate that you have OCD.
Performing Rituals to Function
People with OCD will begin to perform rituals to suppress negative thoughts. For example, a person with OCD could feel like he or she needs to make the bed every morning. If the person doesn’t do this, he may worry that something bad will happen. These ideas can form suddenly, and they can cause thoughts to stay in your mind until you perform a ritual.
Rituals can be any action you need to perform to get rid of negative thoughts. They can be as simple as counting numbers or as complex as reciting an entire poem. They will vary depending on the person and the thoughts that enter the mind. These rituals will cause those varying thoughts to end because the person feels like he or she prevented them through the ritual.
Making Illogical Connections
OCD can cause people to make illogical connections between their obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Often, you may recognize that the connections don’t make any sense, but you may perform them anyway. For example, a person with OCD may feel like he or she has to count to ten while locking a door or else it won’t lock properly. The numbers don’t correlate to the door locking, and the person realizes this, but he does it anyway.
OCD causes a person to worry while making these mental connections between rituals and thoughts. Remember that these thoughts, rituals, and illogical connections will vary depending on the person. You will need to think about your own thought process or communicate with the person to see if they show signs of OCD.
These signs will let you know if someone may have OCD, but you should remember that they aren’t an official diagnosis. If you suspect that you have OCD, you should contact a doctor. Doing so will help you find out how you can receive help to overcome your intrusive thoughts. Either way, these three signs are common indicators for OCD, so keep them in mind.