“OCD” is the new in-thing, casually used to refer to a knack of cleanliness, arranging or checking things. But, to the surprise of some, OCD is not a habit but an anxiety disorder that affects 2-3% of the population.
If an action is driven by some stuck thoughts (with an underlying belief), causing you to surrender to that unwanted idea and force yourself to perform that activity, and feeling anxious unless you do that, it could be potentially OCD!
What Is OCD, Actually?
“OCD” stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, a condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that can make the person compelled to take a certain action and not doing so, leads to great distress and restlessness.
What Are The Symptoms?
OCD can start at any time from preschool to adulthood. The common symptoms of OCD can be as simple as needlessly washing hands, repeated blinking of eyes, shoulder shrugging, repetitive throat-clearing, arranging things in a certain way, or negative thoughts about terrible things happening to the loved ones. Here’s a quick OCD checklist:
– Do you repeatedly wash or clean hands because you feel contaminated?
– Have you saved up so many things that they get in the way?
– Do you repeatedly check doors, drawers, gas stove, etc.more often than necessary?
– Do you find it inappropriate to touch an object if it has been touched by strangers or certain people?
– Do you feel you have to repeat an action a certain number of times or count while doing that?
– Do you get upset if others change the way you arranged things?
Why It’s So Important?
Studies suggest that people with OCD are 10 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. OCD has been in fact listed as one of the top 10 causes of disability by the WHO.
What Sets OCD Apart From A Regular Habit?
– It is an intended act or grown over time out of some influence.
– It can be ignored. At some times, not following a habit can bring guilt.
– That thought/act makes you feel disciplinary and satisfied.
– The thought/act is an unwanted or intrusive one.
– It cannot be ignored. At all times, not doing that brings restlessness and anxiety.
– That thought/act does not give any pleasure but relaxes distress.
What Causes OCD?
There is no particular cause but genetics and certain lifestyle like chronic sleep deprivation have been reported too. To read more on lifestyle hacks for OCD, click here.
Is It Curable?
Yes, says our consultant psychiatrist Dr. Shwetank Bansal. All you need is to sense the need and consult a specialist. Medicines combined with counseling sessions can definitely help ease the condition.
OCD can gravely hamper everyday life. Do not ridicule it as a simple personality quirk!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. OCD and Depression. International OCD Foundation. https://iocdf.org/expert-opinions/ocd-and-depression/