What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental illness characterized by repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts and irrational, excessive urges to complete certain actions. These thoughts and actions are usually uncontrollable, and someone with OCD may not be able to stop their thoughts and behaviors even though they do not make sense. People with OCD also engage in their thoughts and actions over and over again.
OCD has a notable impact on body dysmorphia and eating disorders and can be a component of hoarding disorders and trichotillomania (obsessively pulling out hair) or excoriation disorder (obsessively scratching or picking at the skin).
Whether you are struggling with an eating disorder or another mental health condition, you can get the help you need at Tapestry.
What Are Obsessions?
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines obsessions as “repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety.” Many people know these thoughts and images are untrue or unrelated to their health or wellbeing in the present moment, but they are anxious or afraid, nonetheless.
Examples of obsessions include:
- Fear of germs or contamination
- Having things symmetrical or in perfect order
- Thoughts about harming yourself or someone else
- Unpleasant mental images involving sex, harm, or religion
- Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, harm, or religion
- Aggressive thoughts
- Fear of saying or shouting inappropriate things in public
- Doubts about actions (i.e. did I turn off the store or lock the door?)
When people experience these obsessions, they tend to pursue actions that provide relief. Sadly, this relief is temporary and leads to the vicious cycle of obsession and compulsion known as OCD.
Break the cycle by calling us at (828) 490-4032 today.
What Are Compulsions?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “compulsions are repetitive acts that temporarily relieve the stress brought on by an obsession.” These ‘rituals’ do not make sense to others, and sometimes, they do not even make sense to the person performing them. Nonetheless, someone with OCD typically feels they must act on their compulsions to alleviate anxiety or prevent something bad from happening.
Examples of compulsions include:
- Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
- Checking (and double-checking) that the stove is off and the doors are locked
- “Mental checking”
- Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
- Counting things (like money) over and over again
People with OCD may be embarrassed by these behaviors, which could lead them to self-isolate or avoid social situations. They also do not find completing these actions to be pleasurable, aside from the momentary relief from anxiety they may provide.