Co-occurring OCD signs and symptoms
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a severe mental health condition that is characterised by a variety of symptoms that can be classified as either ‘obsessions’ (irrational and persistent thoughts or urges) or ‘compulsions’ (ritualistic physical or mental acts that individuals feel compelled to perform). OCD compulsions typically arise as methods of reducing or ‘neutralising’ an obsession. For example, individuals who have an obsession with germs and disease may compulsively wash themselves in order to temporarily reduce their anxiety.
The intrusive, irrational thoughts and behaviours that are associated with OCD can occupy significant amounts of time, and can cause individuals to feel as though they have lost control of their lives. People with OCD may also go on to develop an addiction to alcohol or drugs, in their attempts to self-medicate with these substances. This only serves to worsen their psychological wellbeing and exacerbate the existing symptoms of OCD.
At Manor Clinic, our dedicated team possess a wealth of experience in treating OCD when this co-occurs alongside an addiction. Our tried and tested OCD treatment techniques ensure that our patients are equipped with the skills to manage their OCD symptoms, and return to a healthy, productive and satisfying life.
What are the signs and symptoms of OCD?
The symptoms of OCD can vary from person to person and the disorder can be experienced differently by different people. However, there are a series of common symptoms that are associated with obsessions and compulsions, which may indicate that an individual is struggling with OCD.
Example OCD obsessions:
- An obsession with hygiene, germs and contamination
- Worrying excessively that you have a serious disease and may be highly contagious, despite having no medical evidence to support this
- An obsession with maintaining order and symmetry, and being highly superstitious in regards to certain arrangements, numbers or order of things
- Feeling that things have to be ‘just so’ or terrible things will happen to you or your loved ones
- Worrying that you may inadvertently offend another person or cause harm, injury, danger or misfortune to yourself and others
- Experiencing ‘forbidden’, taboo or intrusive sexual thoughts, or constantly questioning your sexual orientation
- Experiencing intrusive violent thoughts, images or urges
- Becoming excessively concerned with issues of morality and religion
Example OCD compulsions:
- Compulsively washing, showering or grooming yourself, cleaning excessively, avoiding certain objects that you perceive to be contaminated, or only touching certain things with a tissue
- Compulsive checking and double checking to confirm that doors are locked, appliances have been turned off, candles have been extinguished, lights have been turned off and other related actions
- Compulsive hoarding
- Repetitive actions, counting or recitation of certain words for a set number of times or for a specific period of time each day e.g. turning a light switch on and off for a certain number of times, counting to a certain number in your head, and feeling as though you need to start all over again if your rituals are interrupted
- Avoiding certain people, places, or situations, which you think may cause you to behave in sexually inappropriate or violent ways
- Persistent efforts to keep items in order and becoming distressed if people move things around
- Excessively praying or engaging in other religious rituals
- Constantly seeking reassurance from other people
Other OCD symptoms
As well as the obsessions and compulsions that are associated with OCD, this mental health condition can also result in a number of additional symptoms, including:
- Anger and irritability
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulties with focus and concentration
- Feeling as though your obsessions and compulsions have taken over your life
- Withdrawing from loved ones, resulting in social isolation
- Inability to manage day-to-day tasks
- Reduced performance at work
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Becoming uninterested in activities or hobbies that were once important to you
- Appetite changes leading to weight loss or gain
What are the long-term effects of OCD?
If it is left untreated, OCD has the potential to cause a range of long-term problems, ultimately having a detrimental impact on an individual’s quality of life and their psychological wellbeing. The long-term negative consequences of OCD may include:
- Job loss and unemployment
- Conflict within the family, marriage, and other meaningful relationships
- Relationship breakdowns
- Reduced quality of life
- Onset or worsening of co-occurring mental health conditions
- Exacerbation of physical health problems due to fear of doctors and/or hospitals
- Pervasive sense of hopelessness and despair
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Suicidal thoughts