We’ve all had moments where we felt a need to re-check something, maybe you wanted to make sure the stove wasn’t on or the lights were turned off. Chances are you also have some sort of ritual or specific method of doing something, like singing a song while you wash your hands or arranging books on a shelf by height. These things are normal and natural when they’re few and far between and done nonchalantly, in that they don’t negatively impact your life. It’s when you start uncontrollably obsessing over and repeating certain thoughts or activities that your mind and sanity start to suffer. When your life is taken over and negatively affected by the need and urge to perform behaviors that you know are strange and make no sense, you likely have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
OCD is a mental disorder which is clinically defined by the Mayo Clinic as having “unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions).” Those who suffer from it perform rituals and activities in specific ways that make sense in their minds. They think that if they wash their hands a certain way their recurrent obsessive thoughts about something, like germs or sickness, will go away. However, performing that ritual only gives them a feeling of temporary relief and they soon have to do it again. Soon they’re bogged down in a cycle and their obsession takes over their life, it’s like they’re stuck on repeat.
It’s estimated that 2.3% of American adults, about 3.3 million people, have OCD in any given year with men and women equally affected. The most common compulsions reported include hand washing, checking things, counting things, cleaning, and an inability to throw things out. The obsessions are so strong and overwhelming that people must perform their rituals and many spend an hour or more a day doing them. Even though OCD is seen as a chronic illness there are ways to diagnose and treat it. A number of different therapy based approaches and medications are used to manage symptoms. Behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, even electroconvulsive therapy and brain surgery have been used in rare, extreme cases.
If you think you may have OCD, it’s vital that you consult a doctor so they can properly diagnose you or determine what else it may be. In the meantime, try taking this quiz to see what, if any, level of OCD you may have. It looks at what pleases or displeases you and how your mind evaluates certain images. Basically, it offers you a rudimentary look at how you experience different scenarios and levels of disorder, which can often point towards whether or not a person has OCD. Try it now and see where you stand!
What level is your OCD? Let us know in the comments below
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