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Common Symptoms Of O.C.D.

The most common forms of compulsive rituals are Checking, Cleaning, Slowness and Ruminations.

  • Checking.
    Most commonly taps, windows, doors, switches, locks, and rubbish prior to throwing it out - the person often has a magic number of checks. This often extends to checking over reading materials and an inability to post letters, just in case they haven't been checked properly for any mistakes. It is often associated with hoarding and slowness.

  • Cleaning.
    Usually the home, to make it "perfectly" clean, excessive use of cleaning agents and the need for no contamination by dirt. Can also include self (multiple) hand washing and baths, and often the family have to comply. It can ultimately lead to total avoidance of cleaning as perfection is never realised.

  • Slowness.
    Usually associated with checking or the need to do things perfectly.

  • Ruminations.
    Thoughts, usually of an unpleasant and frightening nature and worrying kind, e.g. "If I touch anyone, they will get cancer", or "If I prepare food for someone I will contaminate or poison them". Also associated with cancelling rituals, i.e. saying or doing something so that the person touched will not get cancer or be contaminated.

Many sufferers never tell anyone that they have these problems. As the behaviour is so bizarre they fear that if they tell their friends they may think they are mad, and if they confide in their doctor he may have them put away. They suffer these agonising problems in silence and isolation and are often unaware that they are not unique in this respect, and that many people have the same difficulties.

It is very difficult for non-sufferers to comprehend such bizarre behaviour, fastidiousness to this degree, lives dominated by counting lamp-posts and fearing the direst consequences if every crack in the pavement is not stepped on. It is very easy for a non-sufferer to look at the rituals and see them as verging on the insane, but it has to be understood that the problems of OCD are rooted not in madness, but in fear.

It would seem that the answer is simple enough - reduce the rituals in small stages - but it is not that easy. When the rituals are reduced, panic follows, which often makes the situation even worse. There then follows a second more destructive element - not only the fear but also the fear of the fear, which anyone with anxiety-related problems can identify with.

Perhaps if more were known about OCD and the ways the sufferer's lives are totally dominated by it, other people would try to understand and be more sympathetic.

About O.C.D.

As with all human beings, when you feel stressed, your body is designed to respond by producing adrenaline. This hormone helps to prepare you for "action" by stimulating some bodily functions while damping down others. This normal, automatic reaction is known as the "fight or flight" response, and is... more

Wallsend Self Help Group 2015 Rob Rolls

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