Are You Suffering From OCD?

Are You Suffering From OCD?

Have you ever become taken over by your thoughts? Maybe counting all the red cars or making sure you locked your home door, over and over. Maybe you can’t stop using hand sanitizer or need to have your sock drawer perfectly organized and your shoes facing west when you go to bed.

These behaviors are often regarded as quirks or just displays of certain personalities yet sometimes they can fall into another category called obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This is the psychological condition that presents as constant urges or excessive thoughts that affects about 1% of the American adult population. However, 1% is the amount that has been recorded as some doctors believe there are many more challenged by OCD that function without conventional medical intervention.

Find out if you have OCD by going over some of these telltale signs and then how you might be able to manage it. It just may help you focus on more important things while relieving the stress that OCD can create.

Scrubbing them Raw

One of the most common symptoms of OCD is constant hand washing. This activity is the result of several causes which include:

  • Being paranoid of germs
  • Afraid of making others sick
  • Feeling impure or immoral

It is best to seek help from a specialist in OCD if you are continually washing your hands or thinking about it.

Constant Home Cleaning 

Being consumed by having to do some kind of house cleaning per day may be a sign of OCD. The double edged sword here is that many people clean for at least an hour per day and do not have OCD. The best way to determine if you are over-cleaning is to monitor yourself when you do not clean.

According to Michael Jenike, MD, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston,

“It’s really the consequence of stopping, If you don’t [clean], you get terribly anxious and fearful.”

The Checker

“Did I leave the stove on? Did I lock the door? Did my letter make it into the mailbox?”

These are the running thoughts of an OCD sufferer that causes them to check on the same thing over and over for up to twenty or more times in a row.

About 30% of people with OCD are checkers. Three checks is more than enough times to make sure you did something, once it goes beyond that and checking interferes with your life, you may have OCD.


Some people with OCD are counters. From each step taken on a stairway to walking down the street and counting every crack seen in the sidewalk.

Jeff Szymanski, PhD, executive director of the International OCD Foundation, a Boston-based advocacy organization, comments,

“Counting can be a good distraction as you walk to your car or climb the stairs to your office. If it doesn’t bother you or anybody else, you are fine,…People come to me if they can’t get numbers out of their head.”

The Perfectionist

Many with OCD are perfectionists which, in some cases, can create great success. Performer Justin Timberlake has been very vocal about his obsession to make sure things are aligned at right angles and that his refrigerator is in perfect order. This kind of perfectionism seems to have crossed over into his singing career as he continues to use it to maintain his success.

However when perfectionism, like any OCD symptom, takes the place of more important life activities it may be time to seek help.

A Few Things You Can Do

OCD can manifest in many forms. The ones mentioned here are the most common however other  symptoms could occur such as constant fear of violence, sexual thoughts, obsession with relationships, preoccupation with constant reassurance, or an unhealthy compulsion with your appearance.

Seeing a doctor or psychotherapist is always a good idea if OCD seems to be running your life however there are a few things you may be able to try first.

A study by researchers at the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, published in Nutrition Journal (1/21/08) found that,

“Nutritional therapies have now become a long-forgotten method of treatment, because they were of no interest to pharmaceutical companies that could not patent or own them. Instead, the companies that funded most clinical research spent their dollars investigating synthetic drugs they could patent and sell; these drugs however usually caused adverse side effects.”

Naturally increasing serotonin levels (feel good chemicals in your brain) may take the place of  synthetic remedies. Some natural choices include:

  • Tryptophan supplements
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Sam-e
  • Griffonia simplicifolia (derived from an African woody shrub)
  • B-complex
  • L-theanine
  • Omega-3
  • Probiotics
  • Turmeric (curcumin)

Don’t let OCD take over your life. Learn how to train yourself away from this stressful condition and at the same time try some nutritional supplements for assistance. It just may give you a new lease on life.