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Common Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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April 25, 2016 0 53 2 minutes, 38 seconds read
Dr. Sameer Malhotra - Max Hospital
Director and Head - Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences
Mental Health And Behavioural Sciences

We all are immune to double check whether the car doors are locked, gas stoves are off, and iron is unplugged. But, a person suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) will have an urge to repeat his actions a number of times. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this anxiety disorder has been ranked in the top 10 disabling illness that can interrupt in functioning of your normal routine and have an adverse effect on your quality of life. If someone is suffering from this disease, it becomes difficult for them to resist their thoughts, actions, even if he is aware that his behaviour is irrational. Just like an old cassette gets stuck in a record and the music keeps playing, similarly our brain stops at a particular thought or action. For instance, you might check the refrigerator door around 20 to 30 times to make sure it is closed.

Look for following symptoms:

  • If your thoughts keep you preoccupied with words, images, actions
  • Repeatedly washing hands, checking door latches, gas stoves, car doors, and electricity switches, climbing up and down the stairs.
  • Having unending chain of thoughts leaving you stressed out
  • Having ‘impure’ thoughts repeatedly and leaving you with a feeling of guilt/sin.
  • Have the fear of being embarrassed in social gatherings, workplace, and society
  • Feeling stressed about the arrangement and order of things in a particular manner
  • Repetitive movements like eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, facial expressions, sniffing, and clearing throat
  • Filled with several doubts in your mind which require continuous reassurance.
  • Having the habit of accumulating junk containers, old newspapers, or things that are of little or no use at all.

Common Question: Is there any cure of OCD?

  • The most common and effective treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD is proper medication tailored to the needs of the patient as per guidelines and Cognitive-behavioural therapy. You can also self-help yourself in controlling your OCD symptoms by listening to music, going for a walk, talking to friends, or playing a game. Try to focus on your actions rather than chasing your thoughts. Do not hold yourself responsible for such unwanted repetitive thoughts.
  • Do not repeat your actions in order to undo the thoughts.A more active involvement will be to keep a laptop, mobile, paper or a pen with you so that when the obsession begins, you can pen down all your thoughts and compulsions. Keep a particular time for the same rather than spending the entire day on it. Also define some structure to your day , so that you get less time to pursue compulsive behaviours.
  • You can also suppress your urge by assuming that you have completed the task. For instance, if the compulsion involves that gas stoves are closed, doors are locked; you should close your eyes and make a mental note that doors are now locked, gas stoves are not opened. By doing this, the urge will be converted into a casual obsessive thought. You could also say in your mind: “”stop it’”.
  • You must try to practice relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing for atleast 30 to 45 minutes. This will relax the mind and make you feel stress free. Regular exercise also helps.


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