Although you may hear many jokes about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the disease is definitely anything but funny for those who live with it. OCD is considered an anxiety disorder and is very common in the United States. According to the experts, approximately 2.5% of the population suffers from OCD at one time in their lives. One thing you may not know is that there are different types of OCD. In fact, there are many different types, but there are four main types of this disorder, which are checking, contamination, hoarding, and ruminations.
If you have contamination OCD, you will probably find yourself constantly washing your hands and cleaning your house. This form causes the fear that you or someone else may be contaminated and become sick or die. Some of the symptoms include fear of shaking hands or using public toilets, refusing to touch door handles, not using public phones or touching banisters or poles, and washing your clothes over and over. Other signs include brushing teeth more than five times a day, cleaning kitchens and bathrooms excessively, and fear of being in a crowd. If you have this form, you also will not want to visit anyone in a hospital or even go see your doctor for fear of getting some type of illness. Some people with the contamination form of OCD will not touch anything red because they believe it may be covered in blood.
This form of OCD is characterized by the need to constantly check things to prevent the possibility of harm to yourself or others. Some of the situations you may consider is that your house may burn down so you have to make sure all the burners are off and you may drive by your house several times a day to check it. You may also feel the need to continuously check the locks on your doors, alarm system, lights, windows, water, and even car doors. Also, you may constantly call or text your loved ones to check that they are okay.
Well, you may have seen the movie Hoarders and thought that the people on the show were quite normal. Hoarders are unable to get rid of anything they own. Anything. Even if it is considered trash by others, if it is yours, you do not want to get rid of it. You may also stock up on items for fear of running out of them. For example, you may buy 20 boxes of clothing detergent at a time because you are afraid you don’t have enough even though you have 50 boxes at home. You will collect things and never throw anything away even to the point of not having enough room in the house to move.
Ruminations (Intrusive Thoughts)
You may be wondering what the heck are ruminations. This basically just means you have obsessive thoughts that you cannot get out of your head. You will likely dwell on things constantly like what will happen after you die, why people do what they do, and what the origins of the universe are. You may also think about religion and worry that you or your loved ones have offended God. Other types of ruminations that are similar include having intrusive thoughts about sex, aggression, or violence.
The good news is that there is help for all forms of OCD. While many people can get by with therapy alone, most people with OCD seem to get more relief with certain medications such as anti-anxiety or antidepressant drugs. What you need to know is that OCD is real and that it can get better.