Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Is it a Mental Disorder or Just a Bad Habit

OCD mental illness

A distant relative of mine had been prey to an obsessive-compulsive disorder that had turned severe over time. She was finally admitted to a rehabilitation center where she breathed her last very recently. Her family used to scold her for her over-cleaning behavior But never did they understood that it was a mental disorder and she needed an early treatment.

Let us know in details about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) so that it is easy for us to recognize the symptoms and seek help as soon as possible.

OCD is a type of mental illness and is actually contrary to what it is popularly believed that it involves a person’s over-cleaning repetitive behaviour. Cleaning is just a part of their obsessive behaviour and it also involves obsessive thoughts and urges or compulsive repetitive behaviours. For some, it is either of the two and for others, it is both the obsession and the compulsion. Such behaviours affect your work, school, family life and relationships and prevent you from living a normal life. The thoughts you get and the actions you perform are beyond your control.

This relative of mine I referred to had this weird habit of arranging clothes in a particular order every morning and she believed that not doing so will bring harm to her children and family. She also called her husband every hour in office to ensure he was fine. And yes, she had this weird habit of washing her hands thoroughly about 7 times before eating her meal or after touching a particular object she believed had germs on. She used to apologize for her behaviour multiple times but she couldn’t stop herself from these actions.

Symptoms of OCD

Although people with OCD have no control over their actions they are fully aware that what they are doing is unnatural and their thoughts and habits are absolutely baseless. These non-sensible habits might involve a need for order or cleanliness or hoarding or getting intrusive thoughts on religion, superstition, violence, sex and body parts.

You can observe these obsessive thoughts that indicate OCD

  • Fear of getting dirty or infested with germs
  • Worried about getting hurt or others being hurt
  • A strange belief that certain, numbers or colours are good or bad
  • Urge to place certain things in a particular order
  • Being constantly aware of breathing, blinking or other body sensations
  • Baseless suspicion of the partner being unfaithful

These compulsive thoughts are prominent symptoms of OCD

  • Washing hands several times at once
  • Checking locks, switches, gas knobs and other things repetitively
  • Counting certain things like steps
  • Placing a set of items in the exact order every day
  • Fear to touch doorknobs, use public toilets or shake hands with others in the fear of getting germs

Cause of OCD

The exact reason for OCD in people is not exactly known but in these people, certain portions of the brain don’t look normal but again research is required to pinpoint a particular reason. This is a common problem in women than in men and the symptoms can also sometimes appear in children and teenagers. Stress worsens the symptoms.


Treatment of OCD

There is no such treatment for OCD except that you might need to go for counseling sessions or psychotherapy. OCD has no cure but therapies can make the symptoms better with time


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