Do I Have OCD?

Maybe.  OCD can be difficult to diagnose because it’s a disease full of doubt and hiding.  Sufferers are often embarrassed of their behavior and try to hide it.

OCD is an anxiety disorder, not a personality trait.  Just because someone is anal or a perfectionist does not make them “OCD”, though someone with OCD may possess these characteristics.

To be diagnosed with OCD, a person must exhibit obsessions, compulsions or both.  The symptoms must take up an hour or more per day and must cause distress and severely interfere with daily life.  The person must also recognize that their behavior and obsessions are irrational, meaning that the person knows that just because they think something does not make it real, but this understanding does nothing to curb or reduce the anxiety.

Sometimes a person with OCD exhibits what is known as overvalued ideals in which the person is unable to recognize if their fears are irrational or not.

People can have mild to severe OCD causing frustration and daily strife as well as economic distress and isolation.  An example of a severe case would be that of the late Howard Hughes, who isolated himself in his room for a time, delegated complex orders of cleanliness to his staff and toward the end of his life stopped cutting his nails.  An example of a mild case would be someone who checks the lock repeatedly, but perhaps can hide some of these symptoms with ease and lead a normal life.

If you have intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety and perhaps you do certain things to get rid of the anxiety even though you know it’s irrational, but can’t stop anyway, you may have OCD.

OCD is called the disease of doubt because it can make a person unsure of their thoughts and actions.  Sometimes questioning their sexual orientation, excessively cleaning something already clean, or flicking light switches on and off repeatedly.

Also, keep in mind that everyone is a little neurotic.  Just because you step over cracks or chew on both sides of your mouth equally does not mean there’s a disorder there.  It’s when these neurotic things interfere with your happiness.

If you think you may have OCD, please know that there is help out there and that OCD is not your fault!

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4 thoughts on “Do I Have OCD?

  1. The “must take an hour” part is false, as rituals don’t have a certain time period (though it would be easier on us all if they did). It just takes the amount of time until you do the ritual “right”.
    Great blog!

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