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Could You Be Suffering from OCD? Exploring Symptoms in Adults

Go ahead and ask someone about obsessive-compulsive disorder OCD symptoms and you’ll get plenty of comments about compulsive neatness. Sure, this can be a component but it doesn’t do justice to how complex OCD typically is. We’ll get more into definitions and symptoms below but first, let’s clarify some of the specifics about this condition.

OCD is chronic and can make daily functioning a challenge due to its cycles of obsessions and compulsions. There is no known cure for OCD, but it can be managed if the person remains compliant with the proper treatment plan. As this post will demonstrate, we all must have a better grasp of the scope of potential OCD symptoms.


What Are Obsessions and Compulsions?


Intrusive thoughts, in general, are inevitable and mostly harmless. For someone with OCD, it’s a different story. Such thoughts within the context of OCD are called obsessions and can produce severe levels of anxiety. Even when the person is aware of how irrational they are, obsessions essentially demand your full attention. (Examples will be given in the symptom list below.)


In a desperate attempt to ease obsession-inspired anxiety, people with OCD create compulsions to counteract their fears and prevent them from becoming a reality. Compulsions are specific rituals that often involve repetitive behaviors like cleaning, hoarding, repeating words, counting, and arranging.


Exploring Symptoms in Adults

Checking and Double-Checking

The obsession you experience may relate to someone you know being in danger or you creating risk by forgetting to perform a task. If so, ask yourself if you keep going back to make sure the front door or your car is locked. Do you regularly call others to check on them? Would you go as far as leaving a social event or work meeting to check something?

Health Fears

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How far will go to avoid possible germs or a potential disease? It’s fine to maintain healthy hygiene habits, but with OCD, this practice begins to dominate your life. So much so, that the people around have noticed and begun asking you about it.

Harm or Self-Harm

A subset of OCD is Harm OCD. As the name implies, your obsessions and compulsions revolve around a sense of dread that you will hurt someone and/or yourself. The associated compulsions feel particularly urgent.

Keeping Order

Encountering anything that appears out of order to you is a source of intense distress. To counterbalance these intrusive thoughts, you engage in compulsions like putting books in alphabetical order or counting how many brush strokes you use on each side of your head. This is not the same as being organized by choice. OCD makes you feel like you need such order — or else.

A Strong Need for Reassurance

No matter what others do or say, you still need them to verbalize their positive feelings for you. We’re talking about relentless questioning that can end up frustrating others. Of course, when you sense their frustration, you feel you need even more reassurance.


Watching for Signs in Your Everyday Life

A few suggested questions to help you parse out possible symptoms:

  • Do you tend to hoard objects whether you need them or not?
  • Does it bother you if your desk or workspace is not extremely organized?
  • How often do you make a trip to the bathroom to wash your hands?
  • Do you find yourself avoiding close contact with people out of fear of being contaminated with germs?
  • Do you have difficulty handling sudden changes in your plans?
  • How often do you wonder if the people in your life really like you?

If any of the above feels familiar, I’d love to talk more with you about OCD treatment further.

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