If you have OCD, you may find yourself obsessively thinking about certain things or compulsively doing certain things over and over again. These thoughts and behaviors can interfere with your daily life, making it difficult to work, study, or even socialize. If your OCD is severe, it may even cause you to avoid certain situations altogether. In this article, we’ll look at what OCD is and the signs you should watch out for before seeking treatment.
How Do You Know if You’re OCD?
The term “OCD” has been thrown around a lot in popular culture, but what does it really mean? OCD is short for obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it’s characterized by two things: obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that repeatedly pop into your head. These thoughts are often disturbing or distressing, and they can make you feel very anxious.
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that you feel compelled to do over and over again. These behaviors are often done in an attempt to reduce the anxiety caused by your obsessions. For example, someone with OCD might wash their hands obsessively because they’re worried about catching a disease.
Not everyone who has obsessions or compulsions has OCD. To be diagnosed with OCD, your obsessions and compulsions must be severe enough to interfere with your daily life. If you’re able to live your life relatively normally despite your thoughts and behaviors, you probably don’t have OCD. The best way to know for sure is to consult with a mental health professional.
When to Seek Treatment
If your OCD is causing significant problems in your life, it’s important to seek treatment. OCD is a treatable disorder, and there are many effective treatments available. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can start living a more normal life.
Here are some criteria that can help you decide if it’s time to get help:
Interfering with Work or School
For many people with OCD, work or school can be a trigger for their symptoms. For example, someone with OCD might feel the need to repeatedly wash their hands after shaking a colleague’s hand, or they may feel the need to check and recheck their work for mistakes. Unfortunately, this can interfere with productivity and concentration, and it can also lead to tension and conflict with colleagues and instructors. Thankfully, there are treatments available that can help people with OCD manage their symptoms and lead more productive lives. With treatment, it is possible to overcome the challenges of OCD and succeed at work or school.
Impacting Daily Activities
If your OCD thoughts and behaviors impact your ability to carry out daily activities, such as eating, showering, or sleeping, it may be time to seek treatment. For example, if you find yourself putting off essential, everyday tasks because you are afraid of doing them “wrong,” this can interfere with your life in a significant way. In some cases, people with OCD become housebound because they are too afraid to leave their homes. If your OCD is impacting your ability to take care of yourself or live a normal life, treatment can help.
Avoiding Certain Situations
Depending on the severity, OCD can cause people to avoid certain situations altogether. For example, someone with a fear of germs may avoid public restrooms or touching doorknobs, while someone with a fear of making mistakes might avoid driving or using appliances. In extreme cases, people with OCD may become agoraphobic, which is when they are afraid to leave their homes due to the fear of experiencing anxiety in public. If your OCD is causing you to avoid situations that you would normally participate in, treatment can help you manage your symptoms and take back control of your life.
BestMind Behavioral Health Can Help
If you think you or a loved one may be struggling with OCD, the first step is to seek professional help. At BestMind Behavioral Health, we specialize in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including OCD. Our team of experienced mental health professionals can provide you with the tools and support you need to manage your symptoms and live a fulfilling life. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.