A Condition of Obsession and Self-Doubt
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) may present in different ways, inconsistently and with various symptoms. It is not uncommon for one person with OCD to have a combination of symptoms or another anxiety disorder in addition to OCD.
The combination of symptoms makes treatment highly personalized to each individual. However, in general, people living with OCD suffer from unwanted and intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that they can’t seem to get out of their heads. The obsessive thoughts trigger a response to perform ritual-like behaviors or routines (compulsions) in an attempt to ease anxiety symptoms.
People often realize the obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals are based in irrational fears. However, they find themselves unable to stop the pattern.
Common safety-seeking themes include avoiding germs, counting outlets, checking locks to stop unwelcome thoughts, or rituals to stop intense feelings and mental images.
In addition, with a ruminative sub-type of OCD, people will fear having certain thoughts. People will feel stuck in self-doubt. They often fear they’ve made a mistake (past tense) or will (future) make a poor decision that will cause harm to themselves or others. Common rumination fears may involve themes about morality, health/safety, sexual orientation, partner adultery, being socially unliked, harming a child, or failing.
What Is It Like to Live with OCD?
OCD is a very painful condition. Modern culture often inappropriately paints the picture of OCD as comical and quirky. This portrait is far from the truth of living with OCD. People living with OCD experience a lot of emotional pain and tension when stuck in the obsessive- compulsive cycle. They may have difficulty focusing on other tasks, social conversations, or swap a life dream for OCD protection (such as a woman not having a child because she fears vomit or germs).
Even mild severity OCD can interfere with a person’s daily routine, academic life, job, relationships, or social interactions. When a person is experiencing an OCD anxiety response, concentrating on any daily activity may be difficult.
Untreated OCD is a very serious medical condition. Getting proper treatment, Exposure Response Prevention Therapy, is highly recommended for symptom relief.