I’ve seen it on the character of Monica Geller from Friends and I see it with Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. On TV, some may find it entertaining but having and living with obsessive-compulsive disorder is no joke.
It is one thing to have compulsions and obsessions, but it is something else if these become extreme. You may have obsessive thoughts or perform compulsive behaviors but it does not necessarily mean that you have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a condition in which a person’s preoccupation with rules, orderliness, and control becomes disturbing and irrational.
With OCD, a person’s ordinary concerns is treated with exaggeration. These obsessions are uncontrollable thoughts or impulses that occur over and over again in your mind, and in your desire to drive these obsessions away, you develop compulsions. These obsessions and compulsions cause tremendous distress, is time-consuming, and can interfere with your daily life and relationships.
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may be classified but is not limited to following:
- Washers are afraid of contamination. They usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.
- Cleaners cannot stand the sight of dirt and anything disorder. In a location, they constantly scan the area and always have the urge to clean.
- Checkers repeatedly check things that they associate with harm or danger. This obsession to safety manifests in excessive double-checking (adverb intended) of things, such as locks, appliances, switches repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe.
- Doubters and sinners are afraid that if everything isn’t perfect or done just right something terrible will happen or they will be punished. They often times find a way to blame themselves if something turns out the way they didn’t expect.
- Counters and arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry. They like arranging things “just because”. An arranger feels the need to arrange things in linear , straight line and will not stop until satisfied.
- Hoarders fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They compulsively hoard things that they don’t need or use.
You may recognize that your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational, but you are still unable to resist them and break free. Some though, may have such obsessions and compulsions but deem them normal.
This disorder can have the following complications:
Anxiety. People with OCD tend to be perfectionists and can become very competitive. They may become very upset their strict standards are not met, thus making them anxious or frustrated.
Depression. When unable to control a situation, a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder may withdraw emotionally.
Relationship difficulties. People around you may find you difficult to live with because of the annoying and illogical compulsions you exhibit. You also tend to lack flexibility and adaptability because you are in constant adherence to your rules.
Who is at risk? Obsessive-compulsive disorder tends to occur in families, so genes can be a factor. It is highly noticeable at the start of adolescence but may also start at early childhood. Children, though, may not initially recognize the irrationality of such obsessions. Such obsessions and compulsions may also be triggered by unwanted experience from childhood (hoarding can be a result of being unable to buy material things when growing up; a hoarder will have difficulty in throwing stuff away thinking that she/he might need it in the future, however mundane it may be).
Whatever the cause is, if you recognize these behaviors on you or someone you know, better pay attention. It isn’t a life threatening condition but it may have psychological effects that will eventually affect you or the people around you.