Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms

Published in Anxiety Panic Attacks on 27th June 2009

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Living with obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms can be a frustrating and often grueling experience. People with this disorder often find it difficult to accomplish even basic day to day tasks – it can be very hard to hold down a job, maintain a schedule, or even enjoy life.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by repeated, unwanted thoughts. People with this disorder also feel compelled to perform repetitive, ritualized acts, and usually do not even understand why. They usually know that these thoughts and actions are irrational, but they feel powerless to stop them.

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As the name suggests, most people with obsessive compulsive disorder are plagued by both obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are recurring thoughts or fears that will not go away; compulsions are acts that a person feels compelled to perform and over and over again, even though there is no logical reason to do so.

If you are worried that you or someone you love has this disorder, you may be wondering if your fears are well founded. After all, there are many other conditions that are similar, so you’ll likely feel better if you know a bit about it before you talk to your doctor. Take a look at the obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms below to see if you or your loved one likely has this life-hampering condition:

  • An overwhelming fear of germs or contamination. A person suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder may be afraid of getting ill from germs, or may be afraid of contaminating others.
  • Repetitive thoughts or mental images which are violent or sexual in nature.  Often, the sufferer feels guilt for having these thoughts, but feels unable to control them.
  • A preoccupation with order and symmetry. Every item must be exactly in its place, and clutter is not tolerated. This is one of the most commonly known obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms, and can cause great stress for a sufferer living or working in a less than perfect environment.
  • An obsession with superstition. Sufferers often give a great deal of attention to an item or act that is considered lucky or unlucky. For example, a person with obsessive compulsive disorder might take great care not to step on a crack in the sidewalk.
  • A fear of losing or not having needed items. Sufferers are often quite afraid that they’ll lose important things, such as money, a wallet, keys, or a cell phone.
  • Constant double checking. For example, a person may check a dozen times to make sure the lights are out, the coffee maker is unplugged, or that the door is locked before leaving the house.
  • Hoarding unneeded items. People with obsessive compulsive disorder often keep newspapers, food containers, junk mail, and other items that will likely never be needed.
  • Constantly arranging or reordering items. If something is out of place – even in someone else’s home – sufferers often cannot keep themselves from arranging or moving it so that it is in the right place.
  • Excessive time spent washing or cleaning. Sufferers will devote an inordinate amount of time to keeping the house clean, doing laundry, etc.

Keep in mind that having an obsession or compulsion does not mean you have a disorder. These obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms are often quite extreme, and go far beyond the mild obsessions that nearly every person experiences.

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