Thanks to some popular television shows with hilarious characters, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, otherwise known as OCD, is not a taboo subject in pop culture. In fact, many individuals make the assumption that they are “a little” OCD each time they find themselves annoyed with a coat hanger turned the wrong way or a piece of gum sticking to the bottom of their shoe. Though there are very real personality traits and preferences that can make you more prone to noticing a broken pattern, this does not normally mean that you are OCD. The real cognitive disorder only affects roughly one percent of the population in the United States. It is characterized by the inability to ignore obsessive thoughts and compulsions, which often affects daily living and the ability to thrive. For those with true OCD, there are many challenges to overcome on a daily basis, and life can be quite difficult.
Patients who have been diagnosed and are being treated for OCD are commonly referred to as “washers.” This is because the fear of germs is so strong among many of these individuals that they are unable to ignore the compulsive urge to wash their hands frequently. This is the most common fear that is associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Some wash their hands often because they have a real fear of making others sick while others do it due to the feeling of being immoral or impure. Whatever the reasons, the hand-washing can be extreme. You should seek help if you notice that thoughts of germs are consuming your mind, if you do not believe that you are scrubbing enough or if you have irrational fears that lead you to washing your hands more often than normal.
Checking Your Behavior
Another common trait that is associated by those with OCD is checking behavior. Nearly 30 percent of people who have been diagnosed express that they experience a compulsion to insure that they acted in the right manner. For example, if you have OCD, you might check to see if your oven is off or that your doors are locked several times. Of course, some checking is simply a normal behavior, but if the activity becomes ritualistic or if you find that it is affecting your day-to-day life, you might have OCD.
Many who have OCD cannot perform normal tasks without following a specific numerical pattern or counting. For instance, if you are OCD and believe that the number seven is associated with good luck, you might brush your hair with your brush seven times or take exactly 7 steps to your car each morning. This is not normally a debilitating behavior, but you might run into trouble if you need to walk up a set of stair and there are only six. In this circumstance, you should seek counseling services to help you to cope with your compulsion.
Seek Counseling Services
Many of those who suffer from OCD can benefit from counseling services. Some might even be suffering from a co-occurring condition, such as alcoholism, and need addiction therapy. For more information, visit our treatment programs page or contact a representative with South Coast Counseling today.