5 Signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


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Page last updated: 21/09/2022

5 Signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Hey Optimist Minds!

Have you ever heard someone use the term, “OCD” to describe obsessively repetitive behaviour? For example, a person might feel compelled to keep wiping surfaces whenever they notice dust or stains.

Another example is if the individual prefers to arrange and organise their books in a specific and inflexible manner. Usually, when people use this term, they are referring to excessive behaviour that a person can’t help but do.

OCD stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and is a mental disorder classified by the DSM 5. It is characterised by the presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both that cause significant impairment in a person’s functionality.

This video will chalk out some of the major signs of OCD to help you recognise such behaviour. However, this information is strictly for educational purposes. Do not use this to diagnose yourself or anyone else as only a licensed therapist is qualified to do so.

So, here are five signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Number One

Intrusive, unwanted, uncontrollable thoughts.

Do you constantly get thoughts that you can’t stop or let go of? Do these thoughts make you uncomfortable and restless?

These thoughts are referred to as obsessions, which are defines as recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images. If someone with OCD has an obsession, they might get anxious or distressed thinking about it.

Sometimes the obsessive thoughts are unwelcome because they prevent you from getting on with your day. For instance, OCD may interrupt your focus because there is a lopsided painting in front of you. No matter how rewarding the task in front of you is, you just can’t get the painting out of your head.

Number Two

You respond to the thoughts by performing a compulsion.

Do the obsessive thoughts only diminish once you’ve acted on them? Perhaps they make you do things you wouldn’t normally do.

According to the DSM 5, the second stage of the obsession is when the individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or neutralise them with some thought or action. So if you have OCD, you probably feel pressured to act a certain way to reduce your distress.

This can feel like an overwhelming need to clean, check, move, organise, or rearrange something. Otherwise, you feel like something bad is going to happen if you don’t act.

Number Three

Repetitive and obsessive behaviours.

When these obsessions turn into compulsions, one can’t help but behave repetitively. A person with OCD feels driven to perform in response to their obsession, or according to the rules that must be applied rigidly.

Some common examples of these behaviours are:

  • Washing hands
  • Checking if you locked the door
  • Praying
  • Counting
  • Repeating words silently
  • Wiping surfaces

It’s important to note that many mental disorders can cause repetitive behaviours such as autism, ADHD, and Tourettes’s syndrome. So, it is not necessary that such behaviour patterns always indicate OCD.

Number Four

The excessive actions are aimed at preventing or reducing distress.

Do your compulsions bring you a sense of relief? Do you feel like you have to do them to avoid a dreaded outcome?

OCD isn’t just about being obsessively clean or particular about how you want things. These behaviours come from a place of fear and apprehension. Experiencing the urge and not acting on it feels incredibly uncomfortable for someone with this condition.

The actions need not have any realistic connection or preventive effect on the anticipated outcome. Such as a person may have a compulsion to perform rituals designed to ward off contact with superstitious objects even though there is no logical explanation for it.

5 Signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Number Five

You spend a lot of time doing these actions.

A final sign that the obsessive behaviour might be because of OCD is if a considerable amount of time is spent on it daily.

Since the behaviours are done excessively, they take up more of your time than they should. With OCD, it’s not unusual to spend hours doing simple tasks like washing your hands, taking a shower, or setting the table.

This takes away time and other resources from other important work like your job and responsibilities. 

Did the signs we described here remind you of yourself? Do you think you might have OCD? If so, then it’s best to consult a mental health professional for an official diagnosis and treatment procedures.

Let us know in the comments if you found this video helpful. A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.

Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.