Mental Health Conditions cause a lot of distress to the client as well as the caregiver. Mental Illness is usually divided into psychotic and neurotic. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder which falls under the neurotic category. In OCD, the person feels a lot of anxiety which causes discomfort and distress. These obsessions and compulsions interfere with the person’s daily routine.
OCD has some types which can occur in a person in various ways. The first one is hoarding in which the person is not able to let go off unnecessary objects that they possess.
The second is checking. In this the people repeatedly and unnecessarily check things. For instance, they’ll check for some threats like leaks, fire, checking taps for leaking, checking the lights in the house etc. They repeatedly check on certain things with a fear that they made a mistake. For instance while writing a letter or email.
The third is contamination wherein the person has a repetitive urge of washing and they have distressing thoughts about the objects that are touched are contaminated.
The fourth is rumination wherein the people have obsessive thoughts on topics which don’t have a conclusion deemed satisfactory by them.
The fifth is orderliness. In this, the person might obsess about things not being symmetrical. For instance, a person might require his books to be arranged in a particular manner and in symmetry.
The types of OCD are not limited to the above-mentioned ones. But these can be seen commonly amongst the people. There are certain symptoms that can be observed in an individual with OCD. People have obsessive thoughts about certain things and to stop these thoughts they develop certain compulsive actions. For instance, a woman who has an obsessive thought about cleanliness may get into the compulsive action of cleaning every corner of her house. OCD can cause compulsions as well as obsessions and sometimes both in the person. The indications can start early in life and it can worsen with age.
Some of the symptoms of OCD are as follows.
A person while experiencing a certain stressful situation may feel worried and anxiety but obsession is nothing like the normal worry. Obsession is excessive and repeated worries and thoughts that make the person with OCD engage himself in certain thoughts and actions. These thoughts or actions help them relieve the anxiety or in some cases help them in suppressing this anxiety. Typically a person with OCD has repetitive and constant urges, thoughts or images which they feel are uncontrollable. They are aware of this but they find it difficult to stop the thought process. They have feelings of disgust, fear, embarrassment and what to do certain things in the right way. A lot of time is spent on these obsessive thoughts which cause interference in their social, professional and personal life.
Some of the obsession that a person might feel is a need to be perfect about things. They might have some thoughts which are unwanted including incest, sexual and thoughts of causing harm. Obsession of contamination includes germs, dirt.
Every repetitive action is not considered as a compulsion. There are certain actions that are repeated on a daily basis like a daily routine. Behaviour differs based on context. A person who has a job of arranging cereal boxes in a store is not engaging in compulsive behaviour. Some of the compulsions which can be seen are repeatedly washing hands due to the obsessive thoughts of cleaning and washing. Constantly keep a check on things around and oneself for the fear of being hurt or fear of things getting damaged. Repeating certain actions like locking the door 10 times, constantly checking if the switch is off etc. Certain compulsions include repetitive praying to prevent any harm or constantly reviewing the events that happened in a day.
The symptoms vary from person to person. Sometimes a person can only have obsessive thought and it need not be followed by a compulsive action. There is a lot of stigmas associated with this disorder which might cause shame and fear for the person. This also becomes a reason why people don’t seek treatment and talk about it.