Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition that is very complex, affecting people in different ways. A person with OCD experiences a cycle of obsession and compulsion. To get relief from an obsession, a person with OCD will perform the compulsive behaviors associated with the obsession. The relief is temporary and the cycle is repeated over and over again.
Common Manifestations of OCD
Compulsions are defined as behaviors that are done repetitively in order to relieve the anxiety and worry brought about by obsessions. Some of these compulsions are more common than others. The most common OCD compulsions that people experience are as follows:
• A well-known symptom of OCD is compulsive cleaning. Brought about by the fear of contamination, a person may shower for hours, use harsh cleaners to scrub their hands, and may even clean certain parts of their homes repeatedly.
• Fear of causing accidents in their own homes causes a sufferer to make sure that their doors and windows are locked and appliances switched off. Some fear causing accidents on the road and repeatedly check to make sure that nobody was knocked over as they were passing by.
• Another manifestation of OCD is the fear of contracting a disease. People with this compulsion go to their doctors repeatedly requesting for medical examinations and wanting assurances that they are not ill.
• In an effort to reduce anxiety or do away with sexual or violent thoughts, a person with OCD may undertake ordering and counting routines such as arranging books according to size or organizing the closet based on the color of clothing.
• Hoarding can also be manifested where a person finds it difficult to throw away items that are usually worthless for fear of still needing that item.
Negative Effects of OCD Behaviors
A person's life gets adversely affected by these compulsions and although they are aware of the negative effects, the compulsions are too strong not to carry out. The following are examples of the negative effects of OCD behavior:
• Due to the performance of rituals, a lot of time is spent and wasted. This may lead to social isolation and even loss of employment.
• People with OCD have the tendency to keep their compulsions a secret because they see it as something abnormal. Because of this, their affliction becomes a source of embarrassment.
• Medical attention becomes necessary for people with extreme cleaning rituals when their skin and hands are harmed by harsh chemicals.
• A large amount of money is spent on doctors and medical tests that are unnecessary by people with fear of sickness thereby causing financial problems to them.
• A person with organization compulsions gets angry easily if someone rearranges something. In the same way, a hoarder becomes distraught if someone suggests they let go of the unnecessary things they hoard.
The compulsions mentioned above are some of the most common compulsions brought about by OCD. Oftentimes, a person with OCD would only seek professional help to get rid of their compulsions at the insistence of family members.