OCD, or “Obsessive compulsive disorder” is a term that people often misuse to describe a general tendency towards orderliness or cleanliness etc. Whilst these tendencies can be seen with a diagnosis of OCD, the term actually refers to a fairly serious clinical mental health condition which is distressing, time consuming and causes disruption in a person’s day to day life.
There are many different types of OCD, some more difficult to diagnose than others. However, in general the symptoms include:
Reoccurring and persisting impulses, images or thoughts which are experienced by the sufferer as intrusive or inappropriate and therefore cause distress and/or compulsive/repetitive behaviours or rituals aimed to reduce distress associated with the obsessive thoughts or to avoid some sort of dreaded situation.
These difficulties must also lead to impairment in a person’s life.
More information regarding specific symptoms criteria can be found at http://behavenet.com/node/21592
Thankfully- there are effective treatments for OCD! Clinical psychologists are trained professionals who can use the best evidence based treatments to reduce or eliminate symptoms and therefore improve functioning and overall sense of well-being. I won’t go into the treatment for OCD here as it is quite complex and involved- perhaps a topic for another time.
But if you think you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, you certainly are not alone!!! See your doctor who can help you access treatment.