Do you feel like everything must be in order, so you don’t panic? Is your main reason for cleaning your house based on the fear of germs? This doesn’t mean you are one of the millions of people living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Over the years we have become flippant about the use of the term OCD. This mental health issue is not something to take lightly as it affects so much of daily life. However, you don’t need to feel like you are alone in your struggle with OCD, since many people struggle with symptoms of OCD in their everyday life.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a result of decreasing anxiety to certain triggers. These triggers can be various thoughts, places, actions, or words that create anxiety due to an experience in the past. Whatever the cause, OCD is not just peculiar behavior. It can be complex and sometimes hard to diagnose. These obsessive-compulsive behaviors can have a huge impact on the daily life of someone who has been diagnosed with OCD.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental health issue. It requires a medical diagnosis. When a person is obsessive, he or she experiences intruding or repetitive thoughts or urges that can create stress. The compulsion aspect is when a person is repetitive in a particular action or ritual. A person with OCD may exhibit one or both of these behaviors. Learning to recognize these patterns in behavior is key to understanding how to function with OCD.

Main Dimensions or Types of OCD

There are four main categories, called dimensions, of OCD. A person may be classified in one or more of these types of obsession or compulsion. These occur over time and rarely change. It is how a person tends to live based on beliefs due to past traumatic experiences.

Fear of Contamination is the most common behavior of OCD. It is driven by the fear of germs or exposure to contaminations. It is characterized most predominantly by the need to maintain cleanliness through excessive cleaning. Other common behaviors that are often displayed are:

  • Repeated handwashing brings satisfaction that the germs or contaminants have been removed from the person’s hands.
  • Rather than clean something that is believed to be contaminated, the person may choose to discard the items.
  • Changing clothes more often than normal can also be a symptom of the fear of being contaminated. This has become more prevalent during the recent pandemic of COVID-19.
  • When someone is continually maintaining clean or safe areas within the home or workplace, they may be consumed with the thoughts of becoming infected with an illness.

These behaviors may allow the person to feel at ease about coming in contact with germs or contaminants for a short time, but eventually, the fear will present itself again. That is why it is important to work with a Christian counselor who will incorporate biblical principles to help you with your symptoms of OCD.

The need for perfection is portrayed by the person who has an insatiable need to keep things in order. This behavior can be associated with beliefs about superstitions. It is exhibited by continually maintaining patterns, symmetry, and numbers. Examples of behaviors in this dimension are:

  • The need for things to be specifically placed/arranged can be time-consuming and lead to a less productive day at work or school.
  • A person with the need for perfection may always want symmetry or organization when it comes to their belongings or home.
  • A person who finds themselves arranging items until it feels perfect may feel as though he or she never gets anything done.
  • Counting rituals are part of how a person feels everything is in place because he or she has a superstitious belief behind the number.
  • A belief that everything must be perfect or something bad may happen to him, her, or others in the home.

Some people have rituals about the placement of things that help them feel at ease. This brings a sensation of peace because everything has a place.

Attachment and hoarding of specific items not only cause issues for the person, but they can cause issues for others living in the home. Finding enough storage for the items can also present a problem to a person who exhibits perfection as a symptom of OCD.

This scope of behaviors can become extremely exhaustive to the person. He or she can become so consumed with the order of things that he or she may avoid leaving the home. Because of this thought process, relationships can be difficult for him or her to maintain.

The fear of harm due to negligence is also known as checking and re-checking. This is the behavior of making sure everything is safe so that the person or others are not harmed by accident due to carelessness. For instance, the fear of leaving a home with a fireplace burning. Behaviors of this dimension are:

  • Double-checking doors, locks, windows, stoves, light switches, and lamps becomes a habit because you are concerned that there could be a fire or an intruder that harms you or others.
  • A person may choose to check items a certain number of times because it is a superstitious ritual.
  • Another act of checking involves reviewing mentally what was done earlier to be sure there was nothing left in a manner that would cause harm to others.

Each of these behaviors can cause anxiety. Learning to manage life without excessive obsession regarding safety can remove the stress that comes with feeling like nothing productive gets done.

Taboo thoughts is a behavior that is characterized by having unwanted or intrusive thoughts. Most commonly these are thoughts that are not in alignment with the person’s values or morals. This dimension is portrayed by rituals that are performed to remove the thoughts which can include:

  • Thoughts that continue are often sexual, violent, or religious and are the most common areas of thought that are considered taboo or immoral.
  • Constant worry about acting on these thoughts produces anxiety and may even cause a person to become isolated so he or she feels in control of the thoughts.
  • Obsession concerning ideas that may feel religiously wrong or blasphemous can cause depression to become another symptom of OCD. Because of these thoughts, the person may feel as if he or she is not worthy to be a Christian or that his or her faith is fake.
  • Some may begin to take part in mental or physical rituals to feel as though he or she have removed the taboo thoughts from his or her mind. He or she may do this by consistently praying, always seeking reassurance from others, and avoiding trigger areas or situations.

Though the person may be diagnosed with this dimension of OCD, it does not mean that they are a violent person. A Christian counselor can help with all of these symptoms of OCD and taboo thoughts.

Managing Life With OCD

Even though it may seem like there is no help, rest assured that you can manage OCD and regain self-control. Symptoms of OCD can be treated in various ways. The first step in managing life is to realize that you are not alone and that there is help. You can connect with a Christian counselor who can work with you to create a treatment plan that will be beneficial to you.

Medications and psychotherapy are the most used treatments for OCD. With increasing technology, there are new techniques of brain stimulation being explored. A Christian counselor can give you more information about what would be beneficial for your treatment of symptoms of OCD.

Where to Start

As mentioned before the best place to start is with an understanding of your symptoms and how they are related to OCD. When you understand which behaviors are indicative of OCD for you it is easier to find the help you need to manage the behavior.

Finding a Christian counselor with knowledge of the symptoms of OCD is a big decision to make. It will make the process of understanding the best approach for managing your ability to manage life with OCD.

Contact a Christian counselor who will incorporate your faith into the treatment plan. Just because OCD deals with the mental process doesn’t mean you are weak in your faith when you choose to get help.

God creates each of us for a purpose. Because OCD is such an in-depth thought process condition, seeking Christian counseling is one of the best tools you can make use of in managing life with OCD.

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