How To Know If You Have OCD

It is natural to become obsessed with something for a short time. You will eventually get bored of it. But people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) get obsessed with something or some activity, which compels them to repeat some responsive behavior persistently until they feel relieved. This relief will be for a while, after some time the person will again get trapped in a loop of obsession and compulsion.

When they try to ignore uncontrollable obsessive thoughts, they experience anxiety and stress, which makes them repeat the behaviors. They may logically try to reject their obsessive thoughts and their compulsive behavior may not make any sense to them. But still, they feel extremely uneasy and frustrated unless they repeat their compulsive behavior.    

People with OCD may exhibit the following types of obsessions:

Fear of contamination

Individuals develop fears of getting contaminated due to the germs. They avoid places, such as hospitals, washrooms, etc., that are perceived to be contaminated with bacteria and germs, which can lead to infection. Such individuals may have a hard time during community gatherings, and they may even avoid proximity due to the fear that the other person might transfer the germs to them. This behavior can make them appear very rude or snobbish, but they cannot control it.   

This fear can compel them to wash their hands or bathe several times a day. This can be frustrating for them, but they cannot manage their obsessions. Some may even become fearful of getting their home and personal space dirty or contaminated, so, they unnecessarily clean it several times despite complete exhaustion.

Fear of committing some mistake

Such people may get obsessive thoughts about making some mistakes by error, negligence, or randomly. They may become very fearful and need constant assurance that they did not do anything wrong and that everything is fine. This constant need for reassurance and validation keeps their mind occupied.

Need for symmetry and order

Such individuals have obsessions over keeping things in order and perfect alignment or place. Anything which is misplaced or does not look perfect according to them must be quickly replaced, otherwise, this might be a reason for great stress and anxiety among them. Until they arrange things in a certain way, they keep doing it, even if they get tired. This kind of behavior is extremely time-consuming, which ruins all the other activities.  

Fear of harming yourself and others

The person may get intrusive unpleasant thoughts about violence towards self or others. These aggressive though cause worry among such people and they become extremely fearful of hurting themselves or someone else by accident. Rather than accidentally causing harm, they might develop fear regarding an involuntary impulse that can push them to take some unwanted action aggressively. 

Fear of embarrassment

These people may find it uncomfortable to adjust to social events. They have a fear of being publicly humiliated or embarrassed. Social settings make them feel awkward, which is why they tend to avoid social interactions.

Sexual obsessions

The person with this type of OCD will get unwanted intrusive thoughts that can be extremely disturbing. Some may have a fear or extreme worry regarding their sexual orientation.

Fear of being unsafe

Some may become obsessed with the thoughts that they are not safe and that someone is trying to cause harm to them. This prevents them from trusting others or relying on others.

Themes of compulsion an individual with OCD may experience:

  • Washing or cleaning

Washing hands several times a day. Cleaning personal space and objects repeatedly until the obsessive intrusive thoughts disappear. Also, some people may bathe multiple times a day and change their clothes constantly.

  • Mental counting

The person starts to count the things or objects mentally. For example, if they are on a road trip, they may keep counting the number of buildings they come across. Their mind gets completely consumed in counting the number of any object. Also, some people may wait for a particular time to begin some action or perform some required tasks.


Some people need objects or things to be arranged in a certain way, as per their preference. They may not like it when things are scattered and not kept properly. They arrange their homes in a manner that everything is kept in place, perfectly aligned in a specific way.

  • Stuck in a routine

These people tend to do a set of the same things every day. They do not like any changes in their routine.

  • Collecting

Some people collect unnecessary things and pile them up in their homes with non-useful items. They cannot control their urges to buy more and more things.   

Treatment for OCD

The doctor will perform a diagnostic test to determine whether you have OCD, or it is just some common behavior. They will ask you several questions about your general health, family history, chronic health conditions, etc.  They will conduct a psychological test to evaluate your response to stress, fear, anxiety, depression, and trauma. Based on the evaluation, they may suggest some treatments involving therapies and medications.

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