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10 signs and symptoms of people with OCD

10 signs and symptoms of people with OCD

May 6, 2021

If you are one of those people who wash their hands every ten minutes, or you have an obsession because your closet is ordered according to a perfect chromatic scale, surely on some occasion you have been told that you suffer Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) .

Recommended reading: "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: what is it and how does it manifest?"

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: how to know if you suffer?

In many cases, small "manias" for cleaning or other rituals may not be a psychological problem. In fact, there are people who may prefer to wash their hands very often, but who do not have the obsessive need to perform this act of cleansing. We would be talking about a case of preference.


However, other people can not avoid carrying out this type of compulsions in their day to day. These people suffer from a disorder called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), an affectation that, in addition to the already mentioned compulsive rituals, also refers to the obsessive thoughts with which they must deal with on a daily basis. OCD affects 1% of adults in the United States .

Signs, symptoms and signs of people suffering from OCD

How can we know if someone shows signs and symptoms of needing professional help? OCD is a complex disorder and there are multiple diagnostic tests that help mental health professionals to know if a person has this disorder.


In addition, OCD can manifest itself sub-clinical, that is, that there are individuals who are affected by some of their characteristic signals, but not others. They are cases of OCD that do not meet the minimum diagnostic criteria, but that undoubtedly pose a relative problem for the well-being of the person.

10 Signs and Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

There are certain behavioral patterns and symptoms that can warn us that we are dealing with a person suffering from some degree of OCD. These are the ten most usual .

1. Washing your hands compulsively

Washing hands compulsively or using products to disinfect the hands is usually a sign of OCD . This category of people who wash very often are considered a "subtype" within the people affected with OCD.

This act of constant cleansing is motivated by his fear of germs. But it can also be due to the phobia of contracting infectious diseases or infecting someone.


How to seek help if you suffer (or know someone who suffers) this symptom? If you think often about the danger of germs and wash your hands, are afraid of not having washed them thoroughly or feel a permanent and irrational phobia to get some disease (such as AIDS or an infection), you may have one of the main signs of compulsive hand washing. It is also a negative signal that you feel the need to have routines for this type of cleanings, such as having to go every two hours to wash.

2. Meticulous and excessive cleaning

Another category among people who suffer from OCD is that of "cleaners". As can be easily deduced, the cleaners are those individuals who cleanse compulsively . They can sweep, scrub and disinfect their homes to avoid germs or the feeling of impurity. Although the act of cleansing soothes your obsessive thoughts temporarily, you soon feel the urge to clean up even more thoroughly than you did last time.

You should think about seeking professional help if you spend several hours a day cleaning. In spite of everything, and although obsessively cleaning is a sign that we can suffer some psychological imbalance, it is not necessarily a sign linked to OCD. Obsessive cleansing can be related to anxiety pictures.

Related post: "Obsession for cleanliness: causes, characteristics and advice"

3. Review behavior

Revision behaviors consist in the person having the need to go back 3.4 or 20 times to check if the oven is on or not, if the door has been left open or closed. It is one of the compulsions most frequently linked to OCD, and affects almost 35% of people who suffer .

As with other compulsive behaviors, revisions can lead to a series of obsessions, such as an irrational fear of harm or feelings of irresponsibility.

Is it necessary to seek help if someone presents this sign? Well, it depends. It is normal that we sometimes check some things, as if we have left the gas on or if we have closed the car properly. But if the review negatively interferes with daily life, and for example, makes us late to the sites, it can be a clear sign of OCD.

4. Count

Some people who have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder perform tasks according to certain numerical patterns, or mentally count while doing their daily chores , for example when washing dishes or climbing stairs. These behaviors can be manifestations of superstitions or irrational beliefs such as, for example, believing that the number 7 is the lucky number, and that can lead them to take seven steps when crossing a pedestrian crossing. This can be a danger.

Is this sign worrying? Depends on the context. Does it make sense to do it? Probably, in some situations it is convenient to count. But people with OCD count in an obsessive way and in contexts in which nothing positive contributes, but rather the opposite: they can put themselves in danger or see how their thoughts are sequestered by this pathological habit: they can not get the numbers and the habit of counting.

5. Organization

People who suffer from OCD they can be extremely organized , and tend toward perfectionism. Everything must be ordered symmetrically, or following a perfect chromatic order, etc. It is a sign that alludes to his need to order everything in an unhealthy way.

We must seek help if we see that our need to order things goes beyond the rational. It is natural and perfectly logical that we want to have our desk well organized and with the tools at hand, but if we feel the need for all pens and pencils to be ordered according to some perfectionist criteria (for example, the year in which we acquired each one of them) ) and we feel anxiety if they are not as we think they should be ordered, we may need to talk with a psychologist.

6. Awe towards violence

We all take care not to expose ourselves to dangers that may mean that our physical integrity is diminished. We all flee (to a greater or lesser extent) from violent situations and from dangers. Also, from time to time, we think about the possibility that we might suffer an accident. The more we try to get rid of these kinds of negative thoughts, the more they come to us, as several scientific investigations show. But this is especially true for people who suffer OCD, who they can try to eliminate those thoughts, without success, or they can be very upset by the recurrence of this kind of fatalistic ideas .

When to seek help? Negative thoughts do not only affect people with OCD. We all have them quite frequently. But the sign that we suffer from OCD is shown when we perform behaviors (or stop carrying them out) to avoid possible dangers, such as not getting on a car or constantly warning someone of the danger of using the gas stove.

7. Disruptive sexual thoughts

As with violent thoughts, People with OCD can experience recurring thoughts about sexual issues . These thoughts cause discomfort, because they are often disturbing and completely unwanted. For example, you can imagine having homosexual relationships being heterosexual (or vice versa).

These obsessive thoughts can be very annoying and can lead someone who suffers from OCD to get away from certain people with whom they consider that "puts their sexuality at risk". This may be a sign that we should seek professional support.

8. Obsession with your romantic partners

People who have OCD also They are characterized by having obsessive thoughts towards their romantic partners . And, on occasion, they can also manifest this symptom towards their friends, co-workers and other acquaintances. For example, they are so obsessed with breaking a relationship that they can not overcome a false rumor about their partner's fidelity.

This psychological problem can be reflected in the discomfort to face the uncertainty, and can dynamite many of your personal relationships.

The sentimental ruptures generate a situation of stress and sadness, and it is normal that we even feel a little obsessed with him or her. But the sign of OCD occurs when these thoughts become encyst in our mind and generate an excessive feeling of guilt, failure or fear.

9. Security search

The way in which some people with OCD try to mitigate their anxiety is based on Ask the opinion of your relatives if their behavior is visible or annoying to others . They may feel very worried and uncomfortable during a party, and resort to certain compulsions or rituals to feel safe with themselves.

What are the behaviors that are cause for warning? People who use a friend to calm their anxiety with constant questions may have OCD.

10. Hate your physical appearance

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is usually an affectation related to OCD. People with BDD they fix themselves obsessively on some feature of their body that they consider as asymmetric, disproportionate or simply unsightly (it can be the nose, the skin, the eyes, the ears ... or any other part of the body). These obsessive thoughts are quite similar to those suffered by people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. In fact, they are disorders that are often interconnected and suffered simultaneously.

This does not mean that anyone who dislikes any part of their physique suffers TDC, of ​​course.But subjects with BDD can develop features of OCD. If the influence of this supposed physical defect in your daily routine and in your psychological balance is remarkable, it will be necessary to seek psychological help.


Treatment for Children with OCD (May 2021).


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