OCD, also known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is a complex disorder that can be difficult to manage for those living with it. The first step to managing OCD is to understand what it is and the kind of effect it can have on an individual's daily life.
This guide to managing OCD will explore what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is and its typical symptoms, what are some of the causes, strategies for coping and managing OCD, and additional resources for support.*
What is OCD?
OCD is short for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and has been classified by the World Health Organization as one of the top 10 most disabling diseases with respect to loss of income and quality of life. People with OCD experience permanent unwanted and intrusive thoughts, impulses or images, also called “obsessions”. This leads them to perform recurring and repetitive actions that are time-consuming, excessive and distressing, known as “compulsions”. Most people with OCD are aware of their obsessions and compulsions but cannot control or resist them, leading to additional stress, anxiety and shame.
What are Typical Signs of OCD?
OCD is characterised by obsessive and compulsive behaviour that often presents in the following ways, though there are more common obsessions/compulsions:
- The need to control and check (“Is the door closed?”, “Did I turn the oven off?”)
- Aggressive thoughts
- Fear of having an illness or a disorder
- Focus on behaviour, religion and morals
- The need for symmetry
- Constant sorting and arranging of objects
- Checking whether doors or windows are closed
- Constant washing of hands or disinfecting objects
- Daily routines with repetitive actions and activities
- Collecting objects
Common Characteristics of People Living with OCD
OCD will look different in every person, but there are certain characteristics common in people living with the condition.
Strong need for safety
Most people with OCD feel more safe and comfortable in a well-known environment with familiar routines. Change can lead to uncomfortable and unsafe feelings. That’s why many people living with OCD resist change and exhibit a strong need for safety.
Lack of confidence in own abilities
Because of their focus on the likelihood and consequence of their apprehensions (“If I left the iron on, my house will burn”), people with OCD may seem absent and unfocused. They may also need constant reassurance and lack confidence in their own abilities.
Sense of shame
Most people are ashamed of their thoughts and try to hide them from others or isolate themselves. This can be compounded by a sense of frustration as they try their best to resist their obsessions without success, resulting in increased social isolation.
Problems with decision making
Because of the fear of making a mistake, people with OCD try to avoid situations requiring decision making. The constant weight of daily decisions (“what should I wear?”, “what do I want to eat?”) can be exhausting and can lead to further social isolation.
High sense of responsibility
People with OCD often feel responsible for things, which they cannot influence directly. For example: “If I haven’t bought the old house with a barn, the neighbour’s child would not have been injured during play. It is my fault that his arm is broken now!”
What Causes OCD?
The causes of OCD are not yet clear. In most cases, it appears that psychological and organic factors are working together. Some experts also suspect that an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters could play a role. However, there is still no widely accepted cause for OCD and there is also no cure, although there are ways to help manage the condition.
How to Manage OCD
If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD, there are several ways you can find help and support to set and maintain your self-care.
Visit a doctor or psychologist: Consulting a specialist can help someone better manage their OCD and identify treatments that can help, including a combination of medication and therapy.
Try relaxation exercises: Autogenic training, meditation or progressive muscle relaxation (guided by an expert) may provide relief from symptoms and help manage OCD.
Join support groups: Talking to others with OCD can help with symptom management and provide much-needed support, social interaction and understanding.
Learn about OCD: Getting better educated about the condition will help explain behaviours, identify more effective strategies and ultimately increase self-acceptance. The International OCD Foundation has great resources for support.
Reduce stress: Increased stress can sometimes make OCD symptoms worse, so actively reducing stress through exercise, meditation or rest can also help manage symptoms.
Talk with family and friends: Being open about OCD helps increase understanding and can rebuild relationships with others, reducing stress, anxiety and social isolation.
Wear JettProof sensory clothing: Sensory clothing can help calm down your body, reduce overthinking and increase overall wellbeing. JettProof sensory clothing provides a sense of calm for children and adults alike while delivering all-day support to combat stress, anxiety and other symptoms of OCD.
About Jettproof Sensory Clothing & OCD
JettProof calming sensory clothing may assist children and adults living with OCD, as well as Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Apraxia, Dyspraxia, ADHD and Anxiety. Stay up to date with the Jettproof journey by following us on Facebook and Instagram or by joining our mailing list to receive regular updates.
*Please note, Jettproof is not a medical or psychiatric provider and the following guide should not be used as diagnostic criteria or medical advice. We strongly advise speaking with medical and/or psychiatric professionals if you believe you are experiencing symptoms of OCD.