We all can experience those times when we have to double check if we locked our front door or unplugged the heating iron, but some become so obsessed with routine behaviors that their daily activities constantly revolve around these tendencies. If you find yourself in a similar circumstance there is a good chance that you have a form of anxiety known as obsessive-compulsive disorder.
What Is OCD?
Simply put, obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder. Those with OCD are known to suffer from ritual-like routines that are uncontrollable, unwanted, and repetitive. You could have OCD and realize that your behaviors are completely irrational, but are still compelled to perform them. What happens is that the brain becomes fixated on a specific thought forcing you to repeat an action over and over again.
Common OCD Behaviors
There are many different ways that OCD behavior can manifest itself, but there are some common behaviors found in many cases of OCD:
● Frequently Checking Things. Whether it’s checking that the oven is turned off repeatedly or that the front door is locked, people with OCD often become obsessive checkers for fear of potential danger should certain things go unchecked. The brain becomes obsessed with this thought causing the person to check the same thing multiple times over.
● Hygiene Obsession. OCD people often have a fear of germs, disease, and contamination, causing their brain to focus on constantly and repeatedly washing themselves, or bringing their own products with them for fear of using someone else’s, much like Jack Nicholson’s character in the film As Good As It Gets who takes his own packaged utensils with him to restaurants.
● Extreme Superstitious Behavior. Some are so obsessed with their irrational routines that they believe something tragic will happen if they do not perform their routines and rituals in a specific way. Some even become convinced that a family member or loved one could die if they do not leave the home in a specific way with an established routine; it could be something as simple as turning the light on and off a certain amount of times.
There are other OCD-like behaviors including people who hoard unnecessary items for fear of something bad happening and people who are obsessed with numbers and symmetric patterns.
Coping with OCD
There are actually a number of things you can do for support if you have OCD. Below you’ll find a list of some helpful tips on how to cope with OCD:
● Educate Yourself. You may have heard the strategy to know your enemy, and it’s the same with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Learn about the disorder so that you can better understand how to potentially overcome it.
● Support Groups. There are many support groups across the nation you could join. They have proven to provide much needed support from people who know what you’re going through.
● Therapy. A highly successful means of treatment for OCD is therapy. An educated mental health professional can help you manage and cope with OCD in ways you may never have thought possible.