“People with OCD do not like having these thoughts,” Dr. Edward says—cleaning or organizing their room every single day doesn't give them any pleasure.
Another critical characteristic: Obsessions can be “ego-dystonic,”, meaning they do not align with your value system. For example, a person may be a good, caring person, but if she suffers from one form of OCD known as harm OCD, he may have immoral, intrusive thoughts about harming others, such as pushing a stranger into traffic or attacking a family member or partner.
Compulsions are ritualistic or repetitive behaviors aimed at managing the obsessions and the anxieties that accompany them, and they often go unnoticed by others. If someone suffers from a fear of an infection, they may wash their hands for two hours to reduce that anxiety—not because they love the smell of soap or “feeling clean.”
People with OCD feel like these compulsive behaviors are out of their control, says Dr. Edward, who is also an accredited therapist and brain health coach by Dr. Daniel Amen, author of the best selling book: “Healing Anxiety and Depression” and said that OCD is a subtype anxiety disorder. If your child simply choosing to clean things in your house or whatever their habit is, that's not OCD. People with OCD would prefer not to be doing these behaviors, but it feels out of their control and very distressing and anxious. It is actually a behaviour to help them cope – very negatively – with their anxieties.
OCD is an Anxiety Disorder
Many people also believe OCD is always related to cleanliness or organization or counting things. Although fears of contamination (from dirt, germs, viruses, and the like) and an overwhelming need of symmetry, evenness, or exactness are symptoms of OCD, they’re much more extreme than a desire to clean your house or keep pencils in a row.
People with an extreme need for symmetry, for example, constantly rearrange items or insist on even numbers not because they don't like things out of order, but because they fear that something bad may happen (like a family member dying) if everything's not perfect.
Plus, OCD comes in many different forms. As mentioned above, People can have harm OCD. Other types include religious OCD, relationship OCD, accident OCD or disease OCD—all of which involve unwanted, unwarranted thoughts that the sufferer does not act upon but is terrified he or she will
“These types of OCD are really important and really misunderstood, because they involve ‘unacceptable thoughts’ in society’s terms,” Dr. Edward who heads the team of psychologists at PsyCare, Centre for Personal Psychology at the International Psychology Centre says. “Having deep, distressing anxiety about these thoughts is a good indicator that the person is suffering from OCD.”
It’s this deep anxiety (“Why am I having these horrible thoughts?”) that leads to compulsions, like avoiding situations which may lead to accidents which would be impractical and interrupt with the dysfunctional ie interrupting with the function of their lives.
Treating Your OCD
There are treatment options available for people who suffer from all of these types of OCD, including psychotherapy, which uses a variety of techniques to help reduce or stop compulsions, and psychonutritionalmedication. One therapy technique, “exposure with response prevention,” which Dr. Chan received training by Professor David Barlow from the Centre for Anxiety and Related Disorder at the University of Boston, has clients face their obsessions head on and then allows them to see that their anxiety will dissipate on its own, even if they do not engage in their compulsions.
OCD is one of the top ten debilitating disorders that causes an unimaginable amount of stress and interference. Saying your child have OCD because you love to clean completely invalidates someone’s experiences.”
Plus there's a danger in labelling someone with a rigid label—especially one that's negative and likely incorrect— since it can be harmful to their self-esteem, says Dr. Chan. It's a better idea to see yourself in a far more positive light, and get a professional assessment. In other words, think: your child may enjoy keeping her things highly organized, but that may not make her into someone with a diagnosed mental illness of OCD.