OCD, just three simple letters. But it can have a devastating effect on your life.

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety, or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions. Symptoms of the disorder include excessive washing or cleaning; repeated checking; extreme hoarding; preoccupation with sexual, violent or religious thoughts; relationship-related obsessions; aversion to particular numbers; and nervous rituals, such as opening and closing a door a certain number of times before entering or leaving a room. These symptoms can be alienating and time-consuming, and often cause severe emotional and financial distress. The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and potentially psychotic. However, OCD sufferers generally recognize their obsessions and compulsions as irrational, and may become further distressed by this realization.

Obsessive–compulsive disorder affects children and adolescents as well as adults. Roughly one third to one half of adults with OCD report a childhood onset of the disorder, suggesting the continuum of anxiety disorders across the life span. The phrase obsessive–compulsive has become part of the English lexicon, and is often used in an informal or caricatured manner to describe someone who is excessively meticulous, perfectionistic, absorbed, or otherwise fixated.

Many people have a mild form of OCD. You have to perform a certain “ritual”before you can start your car for example. (i need to 1. close the door, 2. put on my seatbelt, 3. start the engine, 4. turn on the lights, 5. turn on the radio and 6. check the heating before I can drive off). Doing this in a different sequence will result in forgetting a step. Or you have to check if you haven’t forgotten anything before leaving the toilet. These minor obsessions are normal and easy to live with. It’s  becoming a problem when it takes over your life. You have to be pretty strong to overcome this obsession. Many times you just need help. So if you do suffer from OCD, please go to your gp and seek help. It’ll make your life so much easier.

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