As the name would suggest, individuals with OCD experience intrusive and uncontrollable obsessions and/or compulsions. While many individuals with OCD experience both obsessions and compulsions, this is not always the case. This is why it is important to understand the difference between the two.
Unfortunately, the term “obsessed” has become quite common in everyday conversations, referring to a favourite tv series, food or activity for example. In this context, obsessions are considered a good thing - something they do not want to live without. This however is very different from the obsessions experienced by individuals with OCD, who live with unwanted and disturbing thoughts, images or urges continually popping into their mind causing distressing feelings and anxiety.
Compulsions are the behaviours or mental acts an individual will engage in, in an attempt to reduce the distress and anxiety caused by the obsessions.
Types of Obsessions:
There are numerous types of obsessions one may experience if they suffer from OCD. Often times, it is not just 1 type of obsession, but multiple. Some common examples of obsessions include:
Types of Compulsions:
The types of compulsions will depend on obsessions experienced by the individual. Some common compulsions include:
Please note that individuals suffering from OCD may not have the same symptoms their entire life. Sometimes new obsessions develop but the compulsions stay the same, other times the opposite is true, or they may develop new symptoms all together. Just like other forms of anxiety disorders, OCD manifests uniquely according to the individual struggling. One thing all OCD sufferers have in common however, is that they find their daily life is significantly affected by the disorder. Not only are they time consuming, but the obsessions and compulsions create extreme levels of anxiety or nervousness.
Remember, these obsessions are unwanted. This point cannot be emphasized enough. Too often individuals with OCD are thought to be crazy or perhaps even dangerous. On average, this couldn’t be further from the truth. This is why it is so important to show OCD sufferers grace and support. Make them feel understood and cared for.
* Please note that NO information provided by Cam’s Kids Foundation is intended or implied to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content and information is for general information purposes only. Please speak to your health care practitioner regarding any questions you may have, or to confirm a diagnosis.
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