You may have heard someone who is particularly tidy say, “Oh, sorry, I’m just being OCD!” Saying you “act OCD” and having obsessive-compulsive disorder are two completely different things, though. Living with OCD is not as simple as making your bed every morning or cleaning your bathroom frequently.
Aside from these flippant remarks, what really is OCD? To better understand OCD, where it comes from, and how it may affect you or your loved ones, keep reading.
Let’s define the obsessive-compulsive disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a life-altering mental health condition that some people do not take as seriously as they should. Many people are able to live with OCD and not have it affect their daily lives, or at the very least, shelter their loved ones from seeing the extent of it.
Essentially, OCD is when your obsessive thoughts lead to repetitive behaviors. There are a few different types of OCD that center around different thoughts and compulsions. Anyone can be living with OCD, regardless of age, gender, or background. To learn some more surprising facts about OCD, continue on.
Various types of OCD
- When it comes to OCD, it is not “one size fits all.” There are many different subsets of OCD, so each case of OCD is a little bit different. These include:
- Organizational: This is probably the type of OCD most commonly associated with the condition. Organizational OCD is when you must have everything just so, or something catastrophic will happen.
- Checking: Checking OCD is another common type of condition. Checking involves double, triple, and quadruple checking that certain things, such as a stove burner, are turned off. This comes from a fear of being careless or thoughtless and potentially causing others harm.
- Contamination: Someone living with contamination OCD will continually clean, wash their hands, or whatever else they deem necessary to remain germ-free. Being unclean is a deep-rooted fear for someone living with this type of OCD.
There are several other types of OCD, but the above are the most common.
Causes of OCD: nature or nurture?
One of the important things about OCD is that there is no one true cause. Over the years, psychiatrists have tried to get to the root of OCD, with no conclusive result. This means that OCD can come from a variety of places, but generally, it is boiled down to nature or nurture.
For example, if one or more of your parents has been diagnosed with OCD, there is a greater chance that you will develop symptoms of OCD at some point in your life. However, certain life events such as trauma at a young age can cause you to develop OCD as well.
Obsession and compulsions: there is a difference
So, it’s pretty obvious that there are two main components to OCD: obsessions and compulsions. But do you know what the difference is? Essentially, obsessions are something your brain fixates on. For example, if you have contamination OCD, your obsessions would be the fear of being unclean, while your compulsions would be continually washing your hands.
Essentially, your obsessions fuel your compulsions. Although this may seem like an endless cycle, I assure you that there are ways to break it. Lean on your support system when necessary and find healthy habits that make you feel good.
If you are concerned you are living with obsessive-compulsive disorder, I strongly encourage you to speak to a trained professional in order to learn the truth. I specialize in helping clients with a variety of mental health conditions, and OCD is no different. Please reach out today if you are struggling so that we can schedule a time to talk.