How do you know if you have OCD? Well, for starters you’ll know it’s not a joke!

I began worrying about things being dirty. Pens and markers especially — if a classmate borrowed them, I’d bring them home to wash, or soak them in hand sanitizer. Eventually, it became easier to simply throw them away. At my worst, I could literally lose days to obsessing over a dirty public restroom I’d seen. My imagination would cook up weird and totally implausible scenarios; I’d imagine I had dipped my lipgloss in the toilet, and then I’d start feeling as if it had really happened (even though, on some level, I knew it hadn’t).

When you’re having increasingly disgusting and bizarre thoughts at every turn (Peeing in the blender? Eating excrement and forgetting about it?) and going to greater lengths to get rid of them (endless washing), doing anything normal becomes virtually impossible. Often, I would have an OCD thought at the front of my mind for upwards of two-thirds of my waking hours. I’d sleep in ridiculous 16-hour stretches just to escape. So you can imagine how frustrating it is to me that my disorder is often used as some sort of punch line; a farcical illness reserved for eccentrics.

             It’s extremely annoying how often I hear people claim that they are so OCD over some tiny little quirk. At least one out of a hundred people around you also has some “quirks” — only those quirks lurk in her brain all day long and keep her from working, going to school, and maintaining relationships.

OCD is…

            It is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Common symptoms include:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. Common compulsions include:

  • Excessive cleaning and/or hand washing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting

Not all rituals or habits are compulsions. Everyone double checks things sometimes. But a person with OCD generally:

  • Can’t control his or her thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive
  • Spends at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts or behaviors
  • Doesn’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but may feel brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
  • Experiences significant problems in their daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors

Treatment and Therapy for OCD

OCD is typically treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. Although most patients with OCD respond to treatment, some patients continue to experience symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy are most helpful therapies to reduce the symptoms of OCD patients.

            Hence, people who are feeling the above mentioned symptoms should not think that they would be labeled as Mental or something. They just need a Pukaar, an encouraging team always there to serve people who need help. Don’t think, just contact Pukaar.

Written By: Hafiza Kanza Ashfaq Malik

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