Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition in which sufferers have to cope with unwanted thoughts known as obsessions that cause them to repeat certain behaviors over and over again. These compulsions (behaviors) at some point begin to dominate the lives of people dealing with OCD, causing them traumatic physical and mental harm.
The biggest effect of OCD on a sufferer is the aforementioned obsessions and the compulsions which they invoke. Obsessions, essentially, are images and impulses that repeatedly appear in a person’s mind over the course of any given day. The sufferer, generally, can’t get rid of these thoughts no matter how much they try. In some of the more serious cases of OCD, a particular sufferer deals with obsessive thoughts at all times of the day and night.
As a result of sufferers’ obsessions, they have compulsions. These compulsions are means for the person struggling with OCD to deal with their problem. They often involve creating a set of guidelines by which the sufferer lives with, which ultimately help them cope with their disorder.
One of the most popular examples of this condition is people that become deathly afraid of germs. In order to rid themselves of the thoughts that this fear brings about, the sufferer will wash their hands again and again, until the feelings of obsession mildly fade away. Unfortunately, this is only a temporary fix as the obsessions typically return a short while later – bringing the cycle about all over again.
Some of the other more common forms of obsessions are: fear of harming a loved one, thinking about particular sounds or noises, fear of evil thoughts, concern with symmetry and exactness and the non-stop need for reassurances. These then bring about compulsions that include, but aren’t limited to: cleaning, saving items, arranging things in a certain way and counting to certain numbers repeatedly.
While there is no specific cure for OCD, a number of treatment options to ease the suffering of people dealing with OCD do exist. Anyone concerned that they or a loved one may potentially have OCD, should get themselves checked out by an experienced professional as soon as possible.