Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder characterized by recurrent intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and fears that lead to ritualistic behaviors (compulsions). While it’s normal to experience intrusive thoughts or double-check things once in a while, the difference with OCD is that you’re compelled to do certain behaviors as a way to alleviate those fears. For example, fear of leaving the stove on may lead you to drive all the way back home to check it.
At first, the obsessions and compulsions might be manageable, but left untreated, the patterns can disrupt the normal flow of your life. As a double board-certified doctor, Dr. Hadi Estakhri can help you manage the obsessions and compulsions so you can regain control of your life. If you spot the signs of OCD, it’s never too early to receive professional help.
If you’re unsure, here are a few signs your OCD could benefit from medical help.
Does your OCD require medical intervention?
Below, Dr. Estakhri discusses six signs it’s time to explore your OCD treatment options.
1. You can’t control your thoughts or behaviors
OCD looks different from person to person. Not all people with OCD have the same intrusive thoughts or behaviors. Examples of instructive thoughts include fear of germs, unwanted thoughts of harm, and the need for symmetry. Examples of compulsions include excessive cleaning or arranging, repeatedly checking (and re-checking) things, and compulsive counting.
If you can no longer control your thoughts or behaviors — especially if you recognize your thoughts/behaviors as excessive — then you might benefit from medical help.
2. You spent more and more time focusing on your thoughts
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), consider asking for help if you spend more and more time concentrating on your thoughts or behaviors. “More and more time” is anything more than an hour per the NIMH.
3. Your anxiety isn’t relieved
OCD is one of many anxiety disorders. Some people with OCD find that completing a ritualistic behavior eases their anxiety and refraining from the behavior increases the feelings of anxiety. OCD treatment, which may include therapy, CBT, medication, and lifestyle changes, can help you learn to manage so the anxiety doesn’t control you.
4. Your work life is being affected
Is your work performance affected by OCD? Between time spent focusing on the intrusive thoughts and time spent engaged in related behaviors, OCD can consume a great portion of your workday. Getting the right treatment can help you feel better, but it can also help you become more productive at work.
5. Your relationships are impacted
Just like OCD can impact your work performance or work relationships, it can impact your personal relationships too. Ask yourself:
- Do my thoughts take up time I’d rather spend with family?
- Do my compulsions affect my ability to enjoy family time together?
- Does OCD get in the way of my relationship?
Children, especially, may not realize when their behavior impacts others in the family. If you notice any signs of OCD in your child, seeking professional treatment can help restore the quality of your child’s life.
6. You used to have OCD managed, but not anymore
Perhaps you used to control OCD with therapy and lifestyle changes, but now your symptoms are regressing. If you used to have OCD well-managed, don’t hesitate to reach out if your current treatment plan is no longer working for you. Some patients find that a combination of medication and therapy is the most beneficial.
If you’re struggling with OCD, you don’t have to wait until it gets worse. If you’re unhappy or concerned about intrusive thoughts, call our Newport Beach, California office at 949-258-7135. You may also visit our website to schedule an appointment.