According to the International OCD Foundation, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is “a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions.” Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or feelings that cause distressing feelings, and compulsions are behaviors that an individual engages in to get rid of obsessions or decrease distress. OCD can affect every aspect of daily life, and seeking treatment can help anyone develop the tools they need to overcome daily stressors.

The following are different obsessions found in OCD: contamination, losing control, harm, perfectionism, unwanted sexual thoughts, religious obsessions, and more. Compulsions may include washing and cleaning, checking, repeating, mental compulsions such as mental review, and more. Treatment should be sought for OCD, and any disorder, when you unavoidably notice the signs. Many experts agree that treatment should be sought when it’s “interfering with your daily life” but ultimately, preventative measures and seeking treatment before things get “bad” is the best policy.

Most people do not recognize when OCD is affecting their life until it is causing havoc, however. Denial is often a case, as many do not feel their symptoms are “bad enough” or “enough of a problem” to seek help for. Just as with a physical illness, however, seeking help before problems occur may mean developing different thought patterns and ways of coping earlier. Another fact that many people don’t consider is that OCD doesn’t just affect the person with the disorder – it affects friends, family, and coworkers as well. Loved ones may find themselves careful of what they do or say, and if they want to keep the peace, they may enable someone to continue performing rituals of OCD that may not be healthy for them in the long run.

If you’re experiencing obsessive thoughts and compulsions, consider seeking treatment immediately. There are several different methods that can be used to treat OCD, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, a form of treatment that has helped thousands of people develop more positive, productive ways of thinking about things. Your recovery is important and the sooner you seek help, the sooner you can be on your way to a healthier life.





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