Many people throw diagnoses around saying, "Oh, I'm so OCD about..." Although it's unlikely that you actually have the disorder, there can be a fine line between attention to details and perfectionism and actually having a disorder like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Though there are some obvious signs you suffer from the disorder, there are also some seemingly innocent habits that are actually signs of OCD.
"We all have obsessions and we all have compulsive behaviors, to some extent, but when it becomes intrusive, excessive, and impairs daily functioning, that's when a parent needs to start worrying about it," Dr. Eugene Beresin, the executive director for The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, tells Romper. Beresin noted that approximately 50 percent of diagnosed cases of OCD present in childhood. The diagnostic criteria for the disorder, however, is the same whether in a child or an adult. Adults and older kids may be able to better vocalize the obsessive thoughts that often go along with the disorder, while compulsive behaviors will be more obvious to others when it comes to younger kids. If you suspect that you, your child, or another loved one may have OCD, it's worth talking to a qualified healthcare professional. Beresin stresses that treatments like medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) work, and getting the help you need shouldn't be something that makes you feel shame.
Think you may no someone who suffers from OCD? Or think you yourself suffer? These seemingly innocent habits could be a sign of a bigger issue.
1. You Wash Your Hands A Lot
You should wash your hands if need be to prevent the spread of germs and disease. That being said, repetitive hand washing can be a sign of OCD if it interferes with your life or is outside the scope of your normal circumstances, as psychologist Dr. Michele Barton tells Romper in an email exchange. If you're a surgeon, regular scrubs are routine, but if you're not, it may be a sign that all is not well.
2. You Regularly Check To See If The Doors Are Locked
Everyone does this from time to time. You absentmindedly leave your house and then wonder if you ever did actually lock your front door. As Beresin points out, if going back and forth between your front door and the car multiple times before you leave for work to check that the door is locked makes you late for work, it could be a sign that it's more than just an innocent habit.
3. You Avoid Cracks In The Sidewalk
You know the saying, "step on a crack, break your mother's back?" Beresin says that it's that fear of what could go wrong if you don't follow along with your obsessions and compulsions that signal it's a disorder. If you feel compelled to avoid sidewalk cracks because of fear of injury, for example, it might not just be something that you tend to do.
4. You Constantly Worry That The Oven Is On
If you're busy in the kitchen, making dinner, answering lingering work emails, helping the kids with homework, and thinking about the activities they have this week, it can be easy to forget to turn off the oven (or forget that you already did). But Beresin says that this obsession, which causes you to wander into the kitchen day and night to make sure it's not on, can be a way that OCD can manifest.
5. You Become Dependent On Schedules
Many busy people are dependent on schedules in order to successfully navigate their days. That being said, psychologist Dr. Wyatt Fisher tells Romper that sticking to routines too stringently could be a sign of OCD. It's important to note, however, that it's not OCD-related if it doesn't majorly impair your life in any way.
6. You're Unable To Break Rules
Everyone knows that person who's a rule-follower, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Following rules to the letter without any room for flexibility because you're terrified of the potential consequences, however, could be an indicator of OCD, says Fisher. If it negatively affects your ability to function, it could be more than a personality trait.
7. You Procrastinate
Procrastinators sometimes work this way because they actually do a better job or get more done under the pressure of a tight deadline. For those with OCD, however, procrastination can come from a fear that you won't do it right that's so strong, it's too terrifying to even begin, according to The Mighty. If you're scared that the outcome will be negative no matter what, where's the motivation to start? Ask yourself where your procrastination comes from and if it's interfering with your life, talk to a professional. They'll be able to help.