Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a disorder that causes repeated unwanted thoughts of sensations (obsessions) or the urge to do something over and over again (compulsions) although the only criterion needed for the diagnosis is obsessions.
As in many other disorders, the quality that defines something as a mental disorder is not only that a person has the symptoms, but that the symptoms rise to the level of interfering with your work or personal life.
Some symptoms include:
- Checking, such as locks, alarm systems, oven or light switches
- Contamination, a fear of things that might be dirty or a compulsion to clean.
- Symmetry and ordering, the need to have things lined up in a certain way.
- Ruminations and intrusive thoughts, an obsession with a line of thought, sometimes that can be violent or disturbing.
Unfortunately for OCD sufferers, due to the frequent shame and guilt many people feel from having the condition and not being able to control it themselves, the average time from symptoms to diagnosis is 7 years. As with most mental disorders or physical disorders as well, the longer someone has untreated symptoms the harder it is to treat. So, if you think you might have this disorder, don’t wait to get treatment.