Can You Be Messy And Have OCD & Are People With OCD Always Clean?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be regarded as one kind of anxiety disorder. If you have OCD, you often have troubled thoughts called urges. It is difficult for you to try to control thoughts. You have an immense desire to repeat some typical behavior and rituals. These are called compulsions.(1)

Examples of urges are fear of germs or fear of injury. Compulsions include counting your hand wash or checking on cleanliness. With OCD, thoughts and repetitive behavior cause distress and get in the way of your daily lives.

Researchers think that there are brain tissues that cannot function properly in people with OCD. Often it goes on in families. Symptoms often begin in children or adolescents. Treatment includes psychological therapy or medicines or both. A type of cognitive-behavioral therapy is found to be useful for the treatment of OCD.

Can You Be Messy And Have OCD & Are People With OCD Always Clean?

It is popular to assume that an individual with OCD is a clean, perfectionist and highly organized in life. Many think that messiness and OCD do not go hand-in-hand. The truth is that OCD is not linked to cleanliness in itself.

Most individuals with OCD have incredibly disorderly living spaces. For someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder, hygiene or cleaning is often delayed by the need for perfection. These individuals usually wait for the ideal moment when they will have adequate time, attention and motivation to do a thorough cleaning. Most likely the time never comes resulting in more chaos than normal.

An individual with OCD, therefore, does not necessarily clean anything simply because they like it tidy. The obsessive individual is overburdened with worry and fear of what may follow if they fail to clean it well.(3)

Common Causes Of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following are the most common causes of obsessive-compulsive disorder:

  • Alters the natural structure of your body or the activities of the brain
  • Genetic factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Head injury
  • Infection
  • Abnormal functions in certain areas of the brain

There may be other causes of obsessive-compulsive disorder which are less common. These may include being abused as a child or having excessive tension.(4)

Risk Factors For Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following factors may increase the likelihood of obsessive-compulsive disorder:

  • Family history
  • Stressful life events
  • Mental health disorder and other psychological issues(5)

Prevention Of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

No, it is not possible to prevent obsessive-compulsive disorder as it is difficult to predict its onset and take precautionary actions and mostly it is due to genetic factors.(4)

Laboratory Tests And Procedures For The Diagnosis Of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following laboratory tests and procedures are used to detect obsessive-compulsive disorder:

  • Physical examination: to check other problems
  • Lab test: Complete blood count, check for thyroid function and screen for alcohol and drugs
  • Psychological assessment: to evaluate the disorder(4)

Problems Of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder If Left Untreated

Yes, the obsessive-compulsive disorder can cause complications if it is not treated. The following complications and problems that can arise from leaving obsessive-compulsive disorder untreated:

  • Contact dermatitis often by washing hands
  • Inability to participate in work, school or social activities
  • Troubled relationships
  • Poor quality of life
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior

Procedures For The Treatment Of An Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following procedures are often used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: to bring symptoms under control
  • Exposure And Response Prevention: help to learn healthy ways to deal with anxiety
  • Surgery: to reduce pathological symptoms

Self-Care For Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following self-care measures or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of obsessive-compulsive disorder:

  • Pay Attention To The Warning Signs: keeps vigilant about what you should do if symptoms return
  • Practice Disease Detection Techniques: helps identify techniques and skills that help manage symptoms(6)

Symptoms Of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

The following symptoms indicate obsessive-compulsive disorder:

  • Fear of contamination or dirt
  • Things should be arranged and symmetrical
  • Aggressive or frightening thoughts about harming self or others
  • Unwanted thoughts, including aggression or sexual or religious themes
  • Investigation and reactive action
  • Silent words, silently praying too often
  • Eye blinking, Facial expression, Shoulder and head jerking
  • Repeated throat clearing, sniffing or grunting(2)

References:  

  1. Burguiere E, Monteiro P, Mallet L, Feng G, Graybiel AM. Striatal circuits, habits, and implications for obsessive–compulsive disorder. Current opinion in neurobiology. 2015;30:59-65.
  2. De Putter LM, Van Yper L, Koster EH. Obsessions and compulsions in the lab: A meta-analysis of procedures to induce symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Clinical psychology review. 2017;52:137-147.
  3. Jiujias M, Kelley E, Hall L. Restricted, repetitive behaviors in autism spectrum disorder and obsessive–compulsive disorder: A comparative review. Child Psychiatry & Human Development. 2017;48(6):944-959.
  4. Hirschtritt ME, Bloch MH, Mathews CA. Obsessive-compulsive disorder: advances in diagnosis and treatment. Jama. 2017;317(13):1358-1367.
  5. Brander G, Pérez-Vigil A, Larsson H, Mataix-Cols D. Systematic review of environmental risk factors for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A proposed roadmap from association to causation. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2016;65:36-62.
  6. Van Schalkwyk GI, Bhalla IP, Griepp M, Kelmendi B, Davidson L, Pittenger C. Toward understanding the heterogeneity in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Evidence from narratives in adult patients. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2016;50(1):74-81.

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