Although constant hand washing is a strong sign of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), some people affected by this condition focus more on cleaning their homes for hours a day so that would be harder to pinpoint. The difference between someone who is just very tidy and strives for a spotless home and a person suffering from OCD is there isn't the sense of urgency and irrational nervousness about deadly contamination setting in if the house isn't cleaned constantly. Excessive hand washing in OCD is also done out of fear of contamination.
Rituals that are repeated behaviors in people with OCD are a strong symptom of the disorder that can be easily missed in children. In childhood, parents and others may not realize that signs like having to have everything or everyone in place or in exact order before reading a story or the child repeating whispered words or nonsense songs are actually compulsions that are a part of childhood OCD. Children without OCD may behave in similar ways also at times, which may also add to the confusion if it is not diagnosed by a pediatric professional.
Many mental illnesses have obsessive or unwanted thoughts as a strong symptom. What can help in the proper diagnosis of OCD is finding out the details of these as people suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder often experience intrusive images in their minds or thoughts of someone being hurt or of themselves even making a mistake and hurting someone.
In OCD, much of the obsessive and compulsive behavior is conducted as a means of trying to relieve the fear of something bad happening. Some OCD patients are petrified that if they throw away items, terrible things will occur, so this can result in hoarding behavior even if these are just things that most people do throw out.
An obsession with lucky or good or unlucky or bad numbers, which affects many sufferers of OCD, can go especially unnoticed in childhood Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, as it could be chalked up to a childlike reaction to learning one's numbers, etc. Children with OCD can worry that their fears of bad things happening will come true unless they focus on numbers they see as the right, not the wrong, ones.
6. Feeling Fear Or Relief When Seeing Certain Numbers
Both adults and children suffering from OCD may feel afraid of some numbers and comforted by others. Oftentimes OCD patients will create compulsive behavior based around their numbers such as not leaving a room if the clock is on a number they deem bad.
While many people without OCD are perfectionists who like everything in what they consider a "proper order," Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sufferers tend to operate out of a feeling of fear when things aren't in order. So if you panic that something bad may happen rather than just prefer a certain way of organizing something, it may be a sign of OCD.
A preoccupation with keeping things straightened up or "just right" for fear that otherwise a harmful situation will occur is a strong symptom of OCD but can be overlooked as just garden variety perfectionism. Again, it's the presence of fear that can be a real indicator for the possible presence of OCD.
Problems concentrating on tasks is often more connected with disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children and teens, yet it can greatly affect both adults and kids suffering from OCD. This is often due to obsessive thoughts that can take away focus on school or work and may also cause feelings of not fitting in with others.
Avoiding crowds in the social sense is not typically part of OCD, so on the surface this sign may be missed. This is because the actual reason people with OCD try to avoid areas that groups or crowds often go to, such as public waiting rooms, washrooms, crowed public transportation and the like is what they often fear is an increased chance of becoming contaminated with a bad disease or virus.
A type of OCD that's easy to overlook is called "Pure O" which is Purely Obsessive OCD. Because this form of the disorder has only one main sign, obsessive thoughts such as fear of causing harm to others, and no outward typical OCD symptoms such as constant hand washing or excessive checking, Pure O often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed.
While double checking to see if windows and doors are locked, doing many checks daily is excessive and could be a sign of OCD. This is one of the most common signs of the disorder, but even so it can be overlooked if it gets chalked up to "just being careful." As with all OCD symptoms, if the degree of fear or worry about harm behind the door checking is high then it could signal the disorder.
Asking questions is one thing, but if you find yourself feeling compelled to ask the same questions over and over even when the answer to them remains the same, this is definitely a sign OCD may be involved.
If you find yourself questioning whether or not you have any of these 13 symptoms of OCD, please seek out more information from your local mental health professional.