You won’t eat a fast-food hamburger until you’ve exposed exactly half the bun from the paper wrapper. You insist on arranging spices in your pantry in alphabetical order. You may just be odd, an eccentric perfectionist, but if these are true compulsions and obsessions, you could be suffering from OCD.
What Is Ocd?
“Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.”
Ignoring or trying to stop your obsessions might only make things worse. You’ll still have the urge to do compulsive acts as stress relief, but despite your best efforts, they keep resurfacing. These compulsions result in more ritualistic behavior — the brutal cycle of OCD.
The exact causes are unknown, but there are risk factors to consider:
- Genetics. If you have a biological relative (a parent or sibling) with OCD, you’re at greater risk of developing it.
- How your brain functions and is structured. Some research indicates physical anomalies in the brains of people with OCD.
- The environment you grew up in may trigger OCD, but there’s the possibility of pediatric illness – Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.
The Types Of Ocd
Here are some of the most common types of OCD.
Checking is an obsession where you’re worried about causing damage or harm through carelessness. Your compulsion could be checking doors or stoves to ensure they’re locked or shut off or your wallet to make sure you didn’t lose your money or driver’s license. You may feel the urge to check things multiple times to ease your stress.
In this case, you think someone can disperse non-viral ailments by touch or proximity or that everyday items can “infect” a person, making you feel unclean. As a result, you may be compelled to scrub your hands frequently and clean items repeatedly to avoid propagating the apparent contamination. You may also fear someone else’s carelessness, or you might feel shocked and awkward around “dirty” things, resulting in general avoidance.
Intrusive thoughts are characterized by troubling ideas that randomly pop into your head. You can envision harming a loved one or a stranger or entertain the notion that just thinking about something would make it more probable to happen. Quieting such obsessions may involve doing an action (saying something aloud or in your head). You may have violent or harmful thoughts but not agree with or act upon them. In most cases, these ideas are so contradictory to how you feel that you’ll become distressed that you could even think such a thing.
Obsessive organization may be the most familiar kind of OCD, involving obsessions about something being in precisely the right place or proportioned. Maybe all framed photographs need to be hung exactly aligned with each other, or the labels on all canned goods must face forward. If you don’t do something to make everything just so, you could become distressed or even believe an apparent lack of organization could harm you or a loved one.
If you have rumination-based OCD, the intrusive thoughts aren’t repulsive or disturbing. Instead, they could be metaphysical, philosophical, or religious conundrums – or questions with no proven answers. Someone experiencing ruminations might obsess on this subject for a bit and ignore responsibilities as they struggle for an answer. Questions without a definitive solution can leave you feeling unsatisfied or empty after spending so much time thinking about it.
If you suffer from any of these obsessions or compulsions and they interfere with daily life, you may have OCD. But treatment is available.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Steps to help diagnose OCD likely include:
- Psychological evaluation by a mental health specialist to discuss your thoughts, feelings, symptoms, and behavior to see if they trigger your OCD symptoms which inhibit your quality of life.
- Reviewing the diagnostic criteria for OCD as published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
- Physical examination by a medical doctor to help exclude other ailments that might be triggering your symptoms and to see if you suffer from any related complications.
If you receive a diagnosis, you and your healthcare provider will then talk about treatment options, like ketamine infusion.
If you have OCD symptoms that have begun interfering in daily life, it’s time to seek out professional help before they get out of control. Contact us today to learn more about treatments that can help you find relief.