OCD is all too often trivialised, misdiagnosed and woefully misunderstood. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a serious mental health condition that changes a person’s way of thinking, their feelings, their behaviours or all three.
This causes the person distress and difficulty in functioning mentally and often on physical level.
As OCD is an illness of the mind, and cannot always been seen, the person’s intrusive thoughts and internal obsessions maybe more difficult to detect initially, so a dramatic change in personality, behaviour and overall demeanour can be one of the biggest warning signs something is wrong.
Some of the signs to look for may include the person…
1. being irritable, distant, preoccupied and uncommunicative.
2. may continually worrying about anything even small things and feeling that nothing is ever quite ‘right’ – whatever they do is never enough, which makes them increasingly agitated and in some cases short-tempered and angry.
3. start talking to themselves or muttering under their breath, they may start blinking heavily or awkwardly, as if they are trying to blink away the bad thoughts.
4. may start to constantly check things (door knobs, electrical appliances, light switches etc) or may start to constantly count out loud or to themselves or lining up objects, organising them in a certain way or specific order.
5. repeatedly wash their hands or other body parts, and or be concerned/obsessed with the cleanliness of their surroundings and potential contamination of their personal belongings.
After recognising that there could be a potential issue, whether it be the sufferer him/herself reaching out for help or a loved one encouraging them, the first port of call should be your GP (General Practitioner). In the meantime keeping the channels of communication open between all concerned in an honest and non-judgemental way, as well as arming yourself with as much knowledge as possible on how the OCD mind works are probably the two most powerful tools that can be used when supporting a loved one with OCD; both of which can also play a crucial part in early intervention, with the HOPE of a more effective recovery for the sufferer and their family.