OCD is a mental health condition in which the afflicted individuals feel an overwhelming urge to perform certain rituals (such as hand washing or checking the oven). Often people with OCD are plagued by constant thoughts, known as “obsessions.” These activities are often irrational and require more than an hour a day. These behaviors are usually a detriment to the individual’s life. Hoarding, severe “germophobia,” and “skin-picking” are all examples of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
People with OCD may try to fight against their obsessions on their own, but this typically increases their levels of anxiety. They feel obligated to engage in these compulsive behaviors in order to ease their stress. A person’s compulsive behavior will usually be closely tied to their obsessive thoughts. Often, they believe that their fears and anxieties can be relieved by performing these compulsive rituals.
For example, a person with OCD may become obsessed with the thought of being contaminated by germs. To alleviate these unwanted thoughts, they may be compelled to wash their hands habitually.
In addition to preoccupations with germs, people with OCD can become obsessed with locking their doors, shutting off their stove, or their belongings becoming disorganized or asymmetrical. The common theme among these seemingly random obsessions is a fear of uncertainty. People with OCD typically doubt their own abilities and actions and need to follow up on them, again and again, to ensure that they have been done. This doubt is further complicated by a heightened sense of responsibility and an inflated estimation of danger.