Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder affects more than three million people across the country. Many of us either know someone or have heard stories of acquaintances or co-workers who have unusual compulsions or behaviors: perhaps they turn the lights off and on five times before leaving any room, perhaps they wash their hands repeatedly, or maybe they feel the urge to double and triple check all work before handing it in to their boss. This type of behavior can often be classified as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive, ritualized behaviors (compulsions) that a person feels compelled to perform. The OCD sufferer typically understands that their thoughts and compulsions are irrational but they are unable to stop themselves.
To understand this disorder and get help for OCD in South Florida, it’s very important to understand the five major behavior categories associated with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
- Washers – These people are afraid of contamination and often engage in cleaning or hand-washing compulsions. This can develop as a result of a fear of germs or a fear of contaminating others they come in contact with.
- Checkers – These individuals repeatedly check things they associate with harm or danger. This could mean going over locks and windows excessively to ensure they are secure or constantly seeking updates from loved ones to be sure they haven’t fallen into harm’s way.
- Doubters and Sinners – They are afraid that something terrible will happen if they don’t perform certain actions just right. These compulsions often revolve around religion – the fear that they will be punished if they don’t perform a religious ritual perfectly or a certainty that performing a religious ritual will prevent a negative event.
- Counters and Arrangers – These people are obsessed with order and symmetry. They tend to be superstitious about numbers, colors, and arrangements. This can include tapping, counting, repeating certain words or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.
- Hoarders – They fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They accumulate excessive amounts of unnecessary items, such as old newspapers, magazines, or empty food containers based on the concern that they might need them in the future.
These behaviors and compulsions may not seem too serious to those who haven’t experienced Obsessive Compulsive Disorder firsthand. The truth of the matter is that this particular anxiety disorder represents a very serious condition that often grips the victim’s mind with fear and, in a very real way, controls their lives. South Florida OCD sufferers should seek treatment once their obsessions begin to rule their life.