Are you OCD?

“Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), and behaviours that drive them to do something over and over (compulsions). Often the person carries out the behaviours to get rid of the obsessive thoughts.”

OCD causes anxiety, sadness, terror and dread in sufferers, loss of productivity and stress in relationships. It is a misunderstood concept and is used lightly to describe behaviours associated with precision. Treatment for OCD is limited due to a lack of reporting and diagnosis since people take time to identify their condition. It takes around seven to ten years for a sufferer to seek help and medical assistance, mainly due to the stigma and a lack of understanding about the condition of OCD. This confusion is obviously not helped by the fact that many people label themselves as OCD and you can find online quizzes and other references which are simply inaccurate.


It is an anxiety disorder, heavily influenced by obsessions which are persistent and cause fear. These are followed by different types of repeated actions such as hand washing, continued checking and performing the same routines for an unhealthy number of times. This is done to alleviate the burden caused by these thoughts. Unfortunately these repeat behaviours are only a short term solution and are part of an even worse vicious cycle. Although people suffering with OCD know that such behaviours are not rational, it proves to be quite difficult to abandon.

Such behaviours are spurred from negative thoughts which make the sufferers fear that their family is in danger. Such examples include repeated checking that the front door is locked and that the oven is switched off. Some might lock the door a number of times and touch the lock repeatedly for assurance. Other less serious traits include repeated checking at the words used in an email before pressing ‘Send’.


Certain traits may have their positive sides. People who portray a certain degree of attention to detail tend to outperform others in a workplace setting. This is not to say that people who actually suffer from real OCD do not face workplace struggles. Such struggles could include an extended period of time over the same task due to intrusive thoughts. This may be accompanied with profound difficulties in concentration.

One way to address OCD is to face your fears rather than avoid them. Once you acknowledge your fears, develop the discipline to refrain from repeating your compulsive behaviours. Each time you expose yourself to your trigger, the anxiety should reduce. In this regard it would also be beneficial to re-focus your attention and avoid thoughts which trigger obsessive compulsive behaviour.

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