Almost everyone knows someone who's a bit "Type A" or "anal." They're adamant that everything is in order, that protocol is followed exactly. . . you know the type. You may even be that person. Some people are just like that. It doesn't mean that they have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or any other compulsive disorder. There are, however, signs that you have a legit compulsive disorder.
Now, you may also know people who claim that they're so "OCD." This is a bit problematic, as it makes it seem like the disorder is just a quirk. Not to mention, they probably don't actually fall under the category. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 1.6 percent of American adults fit the criteria for an OCD diagnosis at some point in their lives. This means it's not as common as people may think (and, also, that your friends likely don't have it.) What ultimately determines if it's a full-fledged disorder or not is, often, the affect that it has on your life. There are some treatments for compulsive disorders, including OCD, so if you think you or someone else may have a compulsive disorder, talking to your healthcare provider can help provide clarity and perhaps help put you or the person affected at ease.
1. You're Irrationally Scared Of Germs
Many people are at least a little wary of illness and germs. Hand washing is a common way to avoid spreading germs and getting sick. In an interview with Health, executive director of the International OCD Foundation Jeff Szymanski said that "washers" is a category of OCD patient. He added that that if you're worried about germs even after washing your hands or are terrified of contracting certain diseases, it might actually be a sign that you have OCD.
2. You Repeatedly Check That Your Doors Are Locked
Checking that your door is locked or your oven or hair straightener is turned off doesn't necessarily mean that you have a compulsive disorder. Everyone forgets to do those things sometimes. That being said, according to the NIH, repeatedly checking on things is a sign of a compulsive disorder.
3. You Clean For Hours On End
Cleaning and tidying up your house is, for many people, a regular part of your daily or weekly routine. I'm not talking about spending each Saturday cleaning your house, that's likely a personality trait. However, according to the aforementioned article from Health, spending hours each day cleaning could be a sign of a compulsive disorder. Additionally, psychiatrist Dr. Michael Jenike told Health that feeling anxious when you stop cleaning or if you skip it might be a sign that it's more than a cleanliness quirk.
4. You Count And Recount
Counting and recounting because you aren't sure whether or not you counted right the first time — and are worried that you'll get it wrong — is a sign that you might have a compulsive disorder such as OCD, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). Whether it's change, steps, or something else, if you count over and over again, it might not just be a part of your personality.
5. You Want To Stop Eating But Can't
Overeating from time to time is common, but usually not a compulsive action. According to the website Eating Disorder Hope, continuing to eat uncontrollably past the point when you want to stop is a sign of Binge Eating Disorder. It's a less commonly known eating disorder than some of the others, but is still a serious condition and falls under compulsion disorders.
6. You Hoard Things You Don't Need
People hold on to things for lots of different reasons: nostalgia, goals, perceived necessity. Keeping things that you don't need can be a sign of a compulsive disorder, according to an article from Everyday Health. It might be more than just being a pack rat.
7. You Avoid Things You Like To Prevent Danger
Avoiding danger is an instinct. However, if you avoid a playground because y're terrified that your kid will get hurt on a playground, the previously-mentioned article from Health noted that it could be a sign of a compulsive disorder. Although it's important to keep yourself and your loved ones safe, it can be a more serious condition if your fear is paralyzing.
8. You Repeatedly Rearrange Things
This is more than being a so-called "neat freak." Compulsively rearranging things may be a sign of a compulsive disorder, according to Psychology Today. Periodic rearranging or putting things in order, however, is probably a type A personality trait.
9. You Dissect Relationships
It's exceedingly common to dwell on relationships when something has gone wrong, like in the case of a breakup. If you can't get it out of your head, go over every single detail, no matter how small, or start to question if the outcome of the relationship reflects on who you are as a person, that might be a sign of a compulsive disorder, according to the aforementioned article from Health. Your relationships are an important part of your life, but they shouldn't dictate your worth as a person.