If you suspect you or someone you love is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, most likely you are seeing them repeat specific behaviors as a result of irrational thoughts and fears.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, often referred to as OCD, falls under the category of anxiety disorders. Although the person may know that the thoughts and fears, or their obsessions, are not logical, they can't do anything to stop them. When the obsessions arise, the compulsions, or repetitive behaviors, begin. The only thing that provides relief from the obsessions is to engage in the compulsions. What are the tell-tale signs of OCD?
Obsessive symptoms often revolve around a central theme. Themes that may be noticed include a need to have things ordered and symmetrical, horrific or aggressive impulses, sexual thoughts and images, or a fear of germs and dirt. Tell-tale signs of these obsessions include a fear of shaking hands with others or touching objects that have been handled by others or dwelling on a fear of hurting someone else in a car accident. The person suffering from OCD may become overly stressed when something is out of place. Many other symptoms may also be exhibited depending on the obsession.
Compulsions are often more noticeable. These are behaviors which must be repeated to reduce the anxiety created by the obsessions. As with obsessions, you are likely to notice a theme such as counting items over and over again or a person repeatedly demanding reassurance.
Tell-tale signs of this portion of OCD include repetitive hand washing, often to the point of raw skin, or arranging footwear to ensure it all points the same way. With compulsions, you may notice that the symptoms tend to be more severe at certain times. This is often when the person is under a great deal of stress.
If you are noticing any tell-tale signs of OCD in yourself or a loved one, help is available. Medications may be prescribed and psychotherapy recommended. Treating this condition is not easy and may require that the person suffering from OCD continue treatment for the rest of his or her life. By seeking treatment, these symptoms may be brought under control so normal life can resume.
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