Symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder

There are many times when it is normal to double check something, there is nothing wrong with checking twice to see if the car headlights are turned off or the iron has been unplugged. A person who suffers from an obsessive compulsion disorder reaches a point where these compulsive behavior patterns become excessive to the point of interfering with the daily routine.

What is obsessive compulsive disorder?

OCD is a disorder which is characterized by uncontrollable and unwanted thoughts. It demands ritualized behavior which the sufferer feels an obligation to perform. Those who suffer obsessive compulsive disorder often know they have thoughts and irrational behavior, but they are unable to resist them.

The brain of people with OCD seems to get stuck in a rut, a particular thought or urge. The OCD sufferer may check 20 or 30 times to make sure the oven is turned off; others may scrub their hands until they are raw and bleeding.

Understanding the obsessions and compulsions:

The obsessions of the OCD sufferer are involuntary. They can be thoughts, images or impulses that pop up over and over again in the mind. The person does not want this to happen but no matter how hard he may try to stop them; he can’t. These thoughts are often distracting and disturbing.

A compulsion is a ritual or a behavior that you feel obliged to carry out time and time again. The disorder often manifests itself in compulsions, which are performed in a lame attempt to rid oneself of obsessions. A good example would be a person who is so afraid of being contaminated that they develop very elaborate cleaning routines and rituals. This never lasts, the obsession returns and the compulsive behavior repeats itself. This usually ends up causing the sufferer a lot of anxiety as they become more demanding and time-consuming.

The signs and symptoms of obsessive compulsion disorder:

Most people who suffer OCD have both obsessions and compulsions. Others may manifest one or the other.

Common obsessive thoughts are:

*  Fear of contamination by germs or dirt
*  Fear of self-harm or harming of others
*  Sexually explicit thoughts and images
*  Excessive focus on moral and religious issues

Common compulsive behaviors:

Double-checking of everything: locks, appliances and switches

*  Repetitive checking on family members to see they are OK
*  Repeating certain words, excessive counting or tapping
*  Spending an inordinate amount of time washing and cleaning
*  Arranging things to be “just so.”

Obsessive compulsive behavior often starts in children, adolescence or as a young adult. The most effective treatment for the disorder is behavioral therapy, perhaps using prescribed anti-depressants in conjunction with therapy. The use of drugs is rare and only employed in severe cases.

Obsessive compulsive behavior is but one of the mental disorders that the professionals at Red River Recovery Center deal with. The center provides the opportunity for recovery for both men and women.

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