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Exploring 20 Common Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s characterized by recurring, unwanted, and intrusive thoughts, as well as repetitive behaviors or mental acts that individuals feel compelled to perform. These behaviors are often meant to alleviate anxiety or distress caused by their obsessive thoughts.

Although OCD is a debilitating disorder, with proper treatment, many people can manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives. Treatment options can include medication, therapy, or a combination of both. In this article, we’ll delve into 20 common symptoms associated with OCD. From hoarding to excessive hand washing, OCD can take many forms. Fortunately, you can learn everything you need to know about obsessive-compulsive disorder with a search online right now, which could help you spot early symptoms.

Hoarding

Hoarding is a common symptom of OCD, where individuals feel the need to collect and keep items they don’t necessarily need. They often feel extremely anxious and distressed when trying to discard these possessions, and may even experience physical pain or discomfort at the thought of parting with them.

Requiring Order

People with OCD may feel an intense need for order and symmetry. This can manifest in arranging items in a particular way or obsessing over having things “just right.”

Frequent Hand Washing

Excessive hand washing is one of the most well-known symptoms of OCD. People with the disorder may feel compelled to wash their hands many times a day, often for extended periods, to avoid contamination.

Checking Appliances

Individuals with OCD may obsessively check appliances, such as stoves or locks, to ensure they’re turned off or locked properly. They may do this multiple times in a row, causing significant distress and anxiety if they don’t perform the behavior.

Thoughts of Violence

Some individuals with OCD may experience intrusive thoughts of violence towards others. These thoughts are distressing and often don’t reflect the individual’s true desires or intentions.

Touching Objects

OCD can cause people to feel the need to touch objects repeatedly. This can be related to feelings of anxiety or superstition.

Mental Rituals

Mental rituals are less visible than physical compulsions but can be just as distressing. Individuals with OCD may engage in mental rituals, such as counting or repeating certain phrases, to alleviate anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts.

Avoidance

Some people with OCD may avoid certain situations or places due to their anxiety or fear of contamination. This can lead to social isolation or difficulty functioning in daily life.

Needing Constant Reassurance

People with OCD may seek constant reassurance from others, especially around their obsessive thoughts or compulsions. This can be taxing for friends and family members and can lead to relationship difficulties.

Excessive Religious Focus

In some cases, OCD can manifest as an excessive preoccupation with religion or religious practices. This can include obsessive thoughts or compulsions related to religious purity or morality.

Memory Hoarding

Memory hoarding is a symptom of OCD where individuals feel the need to hold onto sentimental items or keepsakes. They may feel intense distress at the thought of getting rid of these items, even if they no longer serve a purpose.

Excoriation Disorder

Excoriation disorder, or skin-picking disorder, is a specific form of OCD. People with this condition feel the urge to pick at their skin, often resulting in scabs or sores.

Excessive Fear of Guilt

People with OCD may experience an excessive fear of guilt, even for things that aren’t their fault. They may feel a sense of responsibility for things outside of their control.

Sexual Obsessions

OCD can also manifest as sexual obsessions, which can be distressing and difficult to discuss. Individuals with these obsessions may feel intense anxiety related to sexual thoughts or behaviors.

Excessive Double-Checking

People with OCD may feel the need to double-check things repeatedly, such as ensuring that doors are locked or appliances are turned off. This behavior can be time-consuming and cause significant distress.

Fear of Contamination or Dirt

A fear of contamination or dirt is a common symptom of OCD. Individuals may feel compelled to avoid certain places or people, or may excessively clean or wash their hands to avoid germs.

Fear of Losing Control

People with OCD may experience a fear of losing control, particularly related to their thoughts or behaviors. They may feel that if they don’t perform certain rituals or compulsions, something bad will happen.

Counting

Counting is a common behavior in OCD, where individuals feel the need to count objects or perform certain actions a specific number of times. This behavior is often related to feelings of anxiety or superstition.

Dwelling on Relationships

Some individuals with OCD may obsess over their relationships with others, often fearing rejection or abandonment. This can lead to significant anxiety and social isolation.

Fixating on Looks

People with OCD may also experience obsessive thoughts related to their appearance, often spending excessive amounts of time grooming or checking their appearance in the mirror.