OCD Facts, Tips, & Secrets

By: Debbie Allen

OCD, (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is a common disorder. Most of us have personality quirks that we tend to think of as being related to OCD, but in reality. They are nothing more than OCD tendencies, personality quirks are very, very normal.

It is not unusual for anyone to leave the house and return back to check to see if they have left the coffee maker or the iron on. But if you obsess about such things as that and for example tell yourself that you have to return home every day at 12:15 p.m. to check the iron because if you do not something terrible will happen, then you probably are suffering from OCD.

True obsessive-compulsive disorder includes thoughts that are very distressing and they are or become intrusive on your personal life. OCD is an anxiety disorder. The obsessive, distressing thoughts are intrusive; they are the obsessive part of OCD. The behavior is associated with those thoughts and the actions or rituals are the compulsions. These compulsions actually become rituals that the individual enacts numerous times a day.

The obsessions are recurrent and persistent; the individual can not rid themselves of these thoughts. The thoughts cause anxiety and stress, although the individual understands that the thoughts are not based in reality, they can not ignore them, and they must act out the rituals. This is how they attempt to alleviate the thoughts.

The compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts. In some cases the individual can relieve the anxiety of the disruptive thoughts by simply counting to themselves, repeating the alphabet, or perhaps doing multiplication in their head. These rituals are aimed at preventing or at lease decreasing the distress that is associated with the stressful event or situation.

The compulsions or rituals are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize. In order to actually be diagnosed with OCD the individual must have a process of thoughts or compulsions that take up more than 1% of their day. In other words, the compulsions and obsessive thoughts must actually be time consuming. They also must cause distress or impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning.

Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder actually have feelings that are very similar to those associated with depression.

Some individuals that suffer with panic attacks also suffer with OCD. Many OCD patients claim to experience panic attacks after being faced with their dreaded situations and in some cases this may be true but in many, although the individual does indeed panic, they do not truly experience a panic attack.

Most OCD patients are not fearful of the attack itself, which a panic attack sufferer is, he in fact, is fearful of the consequences of the situation. This in no way minimizes the fact that the OCD patient suffers because the fear felt when faced with a dreaded situation or event can be intense.

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