The signs and symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Over 6.6 million people (one out of every 40 people) suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCS). This disorder often begins at times of emotional stress, major life transitions, health problems, and events representing new levels of responsibility. OCD is a very time-consuming disorder and, according to the DSM-IV, may preoccupy a person for an hour or more a day. A diagnosis of OCD is recognized by the following DSM-IV criteria.

Obsessions:

1. Persistent thoughts and images that creates anxiety and/or distress

2. These images and thoughts are recognized as irrational and go beyond worries normally experienced on a day to day basis

3. Some attempt is then made to neutralize these impulses, images, and thoughts with some other action, behaviors, or thoughts.

Compulsions:

1. Repetitive behaviors (checking doors, hand washing) or mental acts like counting that are in response to the person’s obsessions.

2. These acts and behaviors are performed to reduce their anxiety and to regain control over some perceived event or situation.

The Most Common Symptoms of OCD:

1. Hand washing

2. Cleaning compulsions

3. Checking compulsions

4. Compulsive counting

5. Hoarding, saving and collecting compulsions

6. Need for constant reassurance

7. Need for symmetry

8. Unwanted sexual and/or aggressive thoughts

9. Ordering rituals

10. Contamination obsessions

If you have ever watched the television show “Monk”, you are aware that many people experience several symptoms. For example, Monk frustrates the people around him by his extreme fear of contamination and his need for symmetry. His OCD absorbs large amounts of his energy and time on a daily basis. When watching the show, it is clearly evident the distress and discomfort these thoughts cause him and the powerful urges he feels to neutralize them. Monk does provide a good view of the struggles people with OCD have dealing with activities of daily life.

Shame prevents many people from receiving the help they need. Frequently there are newspaper stories commenting on people with OCD who have successful hid their illness from others for years. They have felt hopeless; however, cognitive-behavioral treatment has been a very successful therapy is changing the faulty beliefs specific to OCD.

Please contact a professional that specializes in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for help as help is around the corner!

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