Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive compulsive behaviors affect people of all ages. In many cases, these behaviors are a response in needing to reduce internal apprehension as well as a need to abstain from or in need of control. It can be difficult at times to see as it often involves behaviors that otherwise seem healthy or normal. Most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder have both obsessions and compulsions, but some people experience just one or the other.
Signs of a Compulsive Behavior May Include:
- Intense impulses that feel like they are out of your control
- He behavior (Example: Shopping, eating etc.) is used as an “escape” from stress or anxious feelings
- The behaviors continue despite negative consequences (Example: Credit card debt, obesity)
When a person has a compulsion, they can feel trapped in a pattern of repetitive and thinking and behavior which can be very difficult to break free from. The effects compulsive behavior can make a person can even reflect those of an addiction to a drug or alcohol.
Common obsessive thoughts in OCD include:
- Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others
- Fear of losing control and harming yourself or others
- Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images
- Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas
- Fear of losing or not having things you might need
- Order and symmetry: the idea that everything must line up “just right”
- Superstitions; excessive attention to something considered lucky or unlucky
Common compulsive behaviors in OCD include:
- Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, and switches
- Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe
- Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety
- Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning
- Ordering or arranging things “just so”
- Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear
- Accumulating “junk” such as old newspapers or empty food containers
People with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Most Likely Fall Into One of the Following Categories:
- Washers are afraid of contamination. They usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.
- Checkers repeatedly check things (oven turned off, door locked, etc.) that they associate with harm or danger.
- Doubters and sinners are afraid that if everything isn’t perfect or done just right something terrible will happen, or they will be punished.
- Counters and arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry. They may have superstitions about certain numbers, colors, or arrangements.
- Hoarders fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They compulsively hoard things that they don’t need or use.
- Shoppers shop as a mood lifter. Note: Shopping as a mood lifter may be an adaptive behavior if no compulsion is involved.
- Trichotillomania (Hair pulling) / Skin picking
A NorthPoint therapist is available to work with you to resolve any obsessive compulsive behavior that is causing interference to a healthy life.