What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a condition that is frequently mentioned on the internet. You do not need to have both obsessions or compulsions to meet criteria, however, usually people with the condition have both in some form. Unfortunately, these obsessions or compulsions take up time from daily life and negatively impact functioning. An example of this may be a person that is unable to leave their house for work until they perfectly arrange their silverware. There could be a strong feeling of anxiety regarding the arrangement of silverware, such as, if it is not arranged properly, it could put a close family member’s life in danger. By arranging the silverware, this anxiety is relieved.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder vs. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is different from Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. Often, people with OCD experience their symptoms as ego-dystonic (coming from outside of self and unwanted) and people with OCPD experience their symptoms as ego-syntonic (coming from inside and welcomed). What this means is that OCD is viewed by the people that have it as a disorder and causing difficulty in their life. People with OCPD may view themselves and their behavior as perfectly normal, and may not seek treatment for it.
Symptoms of OCD usually starts in the teen years. Symptoms can begin gradually and the themes of the condition can change or evolve over time. For example, an obsession may start off with fear of a close family member dying by a violent act. Within a few months the obsession can transform into fear of germs killing the same family member. These symptoms can worsen depending on environmental stressors.
Early intervention is recommended with therapy and/or medication management.