Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common chronic disorder characterized by obsessions (recurring thoughts), compulsions (behaviors) or both. Some sufferers also have a tic disorder – either sudden, brief, repetitive motor tics such as grimacing, shrugging of the shoulders, blinking or jerking the head or shoulders or vocal tics such as repetitive sniffing, grunting or throat-clearing.
Over time, OCD symptoms might ease, worsen, or come and go. Sufferers might try to ease their condition by avoiding trigger situations or they may self-medicate alcohol or drugs in an attempt to calm themselves. Although most adults with OCD recognize that their obsessions and/or compulstions don’t make sense, some adults and most children may not realize their behavior is unusual. In the case of children, it is typically the parents or teachers who recognize the OCD symptoms.
Obsessions might include:
- Fear of contamination or germs
- Worrying about some sort of harm affecting oneself or others
- Fear of misplacing or losing something
- Unwanted and taboo thoughts involving religion, sex, etc
- Arranging things symmetrically or in a perfect order
Compulsions may include:
- Cleaning or washing a body part, such as your hands, excessively
- Hoarding unnecessary objects
- Arranging or ordering items in a specific, precise way
- Repeatedly double-checking things, for example, making sure you have locked door
- Counting items repeatedly
- Seeking reassurance constantly