OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is constantly featured in movies, and people usually laugh or have a good time watching the curious behaviour of these characters. However, suffering from this disorder and living with an obsessive-compulsive patient is anything but funny. These individuals have recurrent thoughts that become disturbing and pressing if they don’t do something about it. These pressing thoughts are called obsessions. On the other hand, the steps and actions they take to relieve these thoughts are often repetitive, but it’s their way to “solve the problem” and be done with it. These actions are called compulsions.
In this article, we will break down the signs and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder into three different categories: Obsessions (pressing thoughts), compulsions (actions taken to relieve pressing thoughts) and other physical symptoms common in these individuals.
Constant fear of contamination
Obsessive-compulsive patients have a pressing concern that their surroundings are contaminated and they might become infected as well when they have close contact. We would usually understand these symptoms as fear of germs and dirt, but it is not only about being clean all the time. Instead, obsessive-compulsive individuals develop a very complex contamination fear, and they would be wary and careful around things like broken glass, pets, and even substances that feel sticky or unwelcome to the touch.
Every patient would have his own array of fears and obsessive thoughts against certain type of materials, and they can experience pressing ideas to clean themselves from body fluids like saliva, sweat, and even tears. Some would even feel contaminated after touching certain types of soap and would prefer one over the other.
Sometimes, their obsessive thoughts about contamination go beyond the physical realm and become intellectual or even magical. In these cases, obsessive-compulsive patients would be afraid of becoming contaminated with certain mental images, with bad luck, being around or touching certain colours, or staying in places where bad things happened.