Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

By  , Expert Content
Aug 27, 2012

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health disorder, which has symptoms of both obsessions and compulsions.

Symptoms of obsession in OCD

Obsessions in OCD are recurrent, unrelenting and unwanted ideas, thoughts, images or impulses that occur spontaneously or involuntarily and make no sense. These unwanted ideas, thoughts, images or impulses interfere when you're trying to think of or do other things.

Obsessions are often related to a specific topic or theme, such as:

  • fear of getting infected or becoming dirty
  • putting things in a orderly and symmetrical manner
  • hostile or horrific impulses
  • sexual images or thoughts

Obsession symptoms and signs may include:

  • fear of getting infected by shaking hands, touching or using objects that some other person has touched
  • repeated doubts regarding whether you've locked the door, switched off the heater or turned off the stove
  • undue stress and anxiety when objects aren't kept in a orderly way
  • disturbing images of hurting your child, shouting obscenities in wrong places
  • avoidance of situations that cause obsessions, such as shaking hands, using things touched by others
  • skin problems, such as dermatitis because of frequent hand washing or picking at your skin
  • hair loss or bald patches because of hair pulling

Symptoms of compulsion in OCD

OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviours that you cannot control and are driven to perform. These repetitive behaviours help to prevent or reduce anxiety because of your obsessions. For instance, if you shake hands with someone or use an object touched by others, you wash your hands again and again to clean them. Many people make rules or rituals to be followed to control the anxiety or stress because of their obsessive thoughts.

Compulsions, such as obsessions are often related to a specific topic or theme, such as:

  • being tidy and cleaning
  • counting
  • checking
  • demanding reassurances
  • performing the same action repeatedly
  • organising and being neat

Signs and symptoms of compulsion include:

  • washing hand until your skin starts to hurt or becomes sore
  • checking doors again and again to confirm they're locked or checking the heater repeatedly to make sure it's off
  • arranging objects in the cabinet, such as soaps, canned goods so that all of them face the same way

In most people, the symptoms of OCD begin gradually and may increase or decrease in severity. Symptoms are noted to increase in times of stress and anxiety.



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