Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition where a person experiences recurrent thoughts, ideas, or sensations, and has a compulsive desire to repeat unnecessary actions multiple times. Some of the common symptoms include alphabetizing everything in the house or organizing clothes by color or season. While this behavior may not be seen as strange to some, what makes OCD different is that it can severely interfere with daily life and the sufferer is unable to control it, often needing to reorganize their life around their obsessions. There is no definite treatment for OCD to date, however, Psychiatry clinical trials in Illinois, Chicago may be a good option to find a potential treatment for OCD and similar conditions.
In addition to the more common symptoms, there are also lesser-known signs or symptoms associated with OCD, such as body hyperawareness, being overly superstitious, fear of emotional contamination, perfectionism, obsession with morality, and fear of harming others.
Hyperawareness occurs when an OCD patient cannot stop thinking about specific parts of the body or bodily functions, such as blinking or swallowing. Obsessed with a body part, the patient will constantly inspect it for marks, growths, and injuries. The patient will continuously wonder if, for example, the arm is moving correctly and performing its function.
There is an endless source of anxiety for the patient who obsesses over body functions. Consider what we do daily: breathing, blinking, swallowing, urinating, defecating, and so on. Imagine one just can not stop thinking about one of these things, such as swallowing.
When a patient with body hyperawareness is unable to stop thinking about swallowing, they become obsessed with how they swallow, how they eat, how others perceive them while eating, and so on. These thoughts run continuously through the mind of the afflicted, leading the patient to wonder if this obsession will drive them crazy. The obsession is also so strange that sufferers are afraid to discuss it for fear of being labeled insane. Body hyperawareness patients are not the only OCD patients who have strange obsessions.
Being Overly Superstitious
It’s perfectly fine to have a few superstitions. However, in the case of OCD, it is often based on worries and rituals, and it is easy to go overboard.
Many people may believe that their superstitions are ‘normal’. However, the level of fear they have about breaking a seemingly magical rule and the potential consequences indicates that their beliefs have crossed from common superstition to pathological. This is referred to as ‘magical thinking,’ or the belief that your internal experiences can influence the external world.
The thing is, people with OCD know deep down that performing a bizarre ritual will have no effect on their lives. But they still feel compelled to do it, causing themselves a great deal of stress and wasting time in the process.
Fear of Emotional Contamination
An individual with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder may experience fear of emotional contamination, believing that by coming into contact with someone, they may be “contaminated” by that person’s values, beliefs, or character traits. For example, if a roommate displays undesirable character traits, a person with OCD may go to the extreme of not only moving out of the apartment but also avoiding anything or any place associated with the roommate.
Sadly, patients may also start to think that contamination can spread through the air, over the phone, online, or even through social contact with others. Another example is when a patient is concerned about becoming contaminated while watching television. A patient may become fixated on a character in a show or a reality show participant and believe that person is attempting to contaminate him or her through their words or actions. It could get so bad that the patient stops watching TV and avoids any social media sites associated with that person or television show.
In OCD, perfectionism entails not only feeling perfect but also appearing perfect to others and maintaining perfection. A single act of imperfection can have far-reaching consequences. A young woman with OCD and perfectionism, for example, may never leave the house because she never feels she looks good enough.
Perfectionists are insatiable people-pleasers. They consider themselves failures if their actions do not please someone else. A student with OCD perfectionism may abandon future plans because of one assignment graded with a B rather than an A. If a perfectionist is told that he or she is not good at something they enjoy (a sport or an art form), the perfectionist is likely to give up.
They believe that it is essential to excel in all aspects of life, including education, work, and personal relationships. At work, the OCD perfectionist will arrive early, stay late, and work through breaks — anything to ensure that every task is completed perfectly, exactly to the task’s expectations and specifications. If the perfectionist makes an error that is pointed out by his or her boss, he or she will be devastated and will feel unworthy of continuing to work.
Obsession with Morality
Some OCD patients have an obsession with morality — right and wrong, good and evil. They are concerned that every decision they make will be the wrong one. Some may believe that this obsession is religious in nature when it is not. This OCD symptom can affect people of all religious beliefs, including those who do not believe in God.
A patient who has a strong faith may begin to worry about being possessed or otherwise controlled by the devil or demons. They are concerned that every action they take on any given day has been influenced by evil.
Obsessive Fear of Harming People
While some may view this as a protective and caring fear, it can become troublesome when it begins to impede life. To avoid the possibility of hitting a pedestrian or causing an accident, a patient may avoid driving. They may also avoid going to the doctor while ill, or attending class to prevent any possible harm to others. or they might decide not to attend class out of concern for hurting a classmate.
On the other hand, in this particular OCD paradigm, the symptoms can get much worse. Patients may actually have violent thoughts, they may plan out exactly when and how they would hurt someone.
Anyone would find this unsettling, but OCD patients find these thoughts particularly alarming and repetitive. Even though the patient may never, ever act on these violent thoughts, the mere fact that they cross his or her mind repeatedly is enough to cause the person to completely avoid being around others in order to keep everyone safe.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder causes many uncontrolled, impulsive behaviors, as well as mental illusions of behavior. Body hyperawareness, emotional contamination, perfectionism, moral obsession, and fear of harming others are all rare and unusual manifestations of OCD.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, make sure they seek treatment from a specialist as soon as possible. Many clinical research organizations conduct OCD clinical trials aimed at improving people’s lives and assisting them in managing their OCD symptoms.