OCD, a word that’s been thrown around a lot these days. You might hear your friends saying “oh yes I had to clean my room before I left to meet you guys out because of my OCD”…or “I need all the books to face the same way because of my OCD”, in case you guys were wondering, this is not OCD this is called being clean and organized and it’s normal.
OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder is defined by obsessive thoughts and compulsions or compulsive behaviors. A lot of people suffer from obsessive thoughts from time to time. The need for perfection, organization and control, but what not a lot of people follow up with after these thoughts is compulsions or repetitive behaviors, rituals or actions that they HAVE to complete.
This becomes problematic with it begins to interfere with everyday life.
For example: someone with OCD might have the intrusive thought, “I’m going to get into a car crash if I leave my home and drive to work”. This thought alone is not abnormal and not a problem. A lot of people have this thought, I’ve had this thought and I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve had this thought as well. This might produce some anxiety (which is normal) and might give you some pause but after a few moments you realize that you’ll be fine because you drive to work everyday and the likelihood of you getting into an accident is low so you leave, go to work and have a great day. When you have the thought “”I’m going to get into a car crash if I leave my home and drive to work”, and the anxiety becomes intrusive, to the point where you are unable to leave your home not only to drive to work, but to drive anywhere and you begin to do compulsive activities that you think will prevent the ‘bad thing’ from happening. I might look something like this
- I have the thought “I’m going to get into a car crash if I leave my home and drive to work”
- The thought becomes overwhelming and I am unable to go about my day
- I being to do compulsions before I leave my house to prevent the car crash that I think is going to happen
- So when I wake up, I have to walk through the bathroom door at a certain speed, if I don’t do it correctly I need to do it again
- I need to make my bed a certain way, in the same way every morning, and if I don’t do it correctly I need to do it again
- When I leave and flip off the light switch, they all need to be facing down, and if I don’t do it correctly I need to do it again
- When I get in my car and slam my door, it has to be done at a certain speed and slammed a certain way, and if I don’t do it correctly I need to do it again
- (You see how this could be time consuming)
- If these things are not done correctly causes tremendous anxiety, but if done correctly then the ‘bad thing’ won’t happen
You can see how these compulsions would take up a lot of not only mental time but psychical time as well. Someone could spend hours doing rituals each day and it could severely interfere with their day-to-day life and functioning.
This, is OCD.