Do you know what OCD is and what it stands for?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a serious anxiety-related condition that affects as many as three in a hundred people – from young children to older adults – regardless of gender and social or cultural background. Sufferers often go undiagnosed for many years, partially because of a lack of understanding of the condition, and partially because of the intense feelings of embarrassment, guilt and sometimes even shame associated with what is often called the ‘secret illness’.
To some degree OCD-type symptoms are probably experienced at one time or another by most people, especially in times of stress. However, the illness can have a totally devastating effect on work, social life and personal relationships. The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks OCD as the tenth most disabling illness of any kind, in terms of lost earnings and diminished quality of life.
OCD can take many forms, but, in general, sufferers experience repetitive, intrusive and unwelcome thoughts, images, impulses and doubts which they find hard to ignore. These thoughts form the obsessional part of ‘Obsessive-Compulsive’ and they usually (but not always) cause the person to perform repetitive compulsions in a vain attempt to relieve themselves of the obsessions and neutralise the fear. Some sufferers will have the obsessions but no sign of physical outward compulsions.
At stated earlier, OCD symptoms are usually experienced by all of us at some time or another, although we may not see them as OCDs because they are so ingrained in our daily behaviour. What sort of things am I thinking about?
Well here’s a few examples of my OCD-like symptoms – How do they compare to yours?
- The climate control in my car adjusts by steps of 0.5 degrees at a time – I cannot leave the temperature at one of these “half temperatures”, I must always have it at a round number. E.g. 20.5 is bad while 20 or 21 is good.
- Clearing away dirty dishes as soon as they are no longer in use. Not necessarily washing them immediately, but I must get them out of the living room ASAP
- If I receive a document that is not formatted, or not laid out properly, or contains misspelt words or headings are not consistent, I always have to fix it – Maybe that’s just because I don’t think it looks very professional otherwise, but I do know a lot of people who wouldn’t bother and would just leave it as it was
- I check 3 or 4 times after I lock my car, that I have actually locked it
So now I’ve got you thinking, I’d like to hear from you about your OCD or OCD-like symptoms.