OCD Disorder Has Great Diversity
Obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms are often undiagnosed by mental health professionals. This is due to the nearly countless forms that OCD disorder can take. The variety of ways that OCD disorder can present itself is enormous. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is sometimes referred to as OCD disorder, despite the redundancy of the letter “D” for Disorder and the word “disorder” itself. Obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms most often show up as compulsive washing, cleaning, or checking. But there are many other types of OCD disorder. A hoarder whose house is a mess with clutter and the boy who washes 100 times per day and keeps his room immaculate can each suffer from the same OCD disorder. How can such opposite behaviors stem from the same syndrome?
The answer is that all types of OCD disorder, despite the immense variety, contain the same underlying psychological mechanism which is driven by anxiety.
All Forms of OCD Disorder Share This Psychological Mechanism
All forms of OCD disorder share the same basic mechanism of anxious thoughts (obsessions) leading to driven behaviors (compulsions).
First, a person experiences obsessions. These are thoughts that have a very repetitive nature and they are very insistant. Obsessions raise a person’s anxiety level. It’s crucial to understand this point if you wish to see how the differing presentations of OCD disorder share a common psychological mechanism.
By the way, we are all capable of obsessions in certain circumtances. This is a good thing. Consider, for example, people in a burning building. They all have the same obsession: “I have to get out of here to survive!” It’s the obsessive quality of this thought that helps people push their own limits when they are in great danger. So obsessions become a problem not because obsessive thinking is always dsyfunctional. Rather, obsessions that stem from OCD disorder create a lot of misery in their shear volume. They also turn numerous daily activities into the high alert status of a burning building.
The second aspect of OCD disorder shared by the variety in obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms is compulsions. While obsessions are always thoughts, compulsions are usually actions or behaviors. I’m obssessed with the thought that germs may give me a terminal illness, so I wash for the 16th time “just to be sure.” The thought raises the anxiety, the compulsive washing serves to bring down the anxiety..for the moment. Compulsions are in response to obsessions whether or not obsessive thoughts are in a person’s conscious awareness at the time.
Now we are ready to see how the hoarder (ultra messy) and the washer (ultra clean) can be suffering from the same disorder. The washer’s anxiety rises as he obsesses about the risk of germs. He repeatedly washes to lower this anxiety. The hoarder’s obsession is the thought that something useful might be wasted or discarded. It might be useful to himself in the future or to someone else presently. These obsessive thoughts raise his anxiety and the compulsion is a relieving behavior: to save or store something. For a severe case of OCD disorder, asking the hoarder to throw something away feels to him like being told to remain in a burning building. It’s not hard to see how this grinding cycle of obsessions and compulsions robs a person of happiness. The cycle is massively dsyruptive to life and relationships.
Many Forms of OCD Disorder Share Clinical Depression Symptoms
Clinical depression symptoms frequently fly under the radar everyday in offices, schools, businesses, and even physicians’ therapists’ offices. The reason is that the lower intensity clinical depression symptoms are not as obvious. These mild symptoms are really not mild. They have the power to turn a person’s colorful, wide-screen, HD life into a small black and white TV. But they are called “mild” because the person can still go to work, fulfill responsibilities, and doesn’t ever think about suicide.
A major depressive disorder (MDD) that is “mild” can be a little like cancer, although very treatable. A person may have cancer but no one notices. Many sufferers of OCD carry the milder form of clinical depression and don’t know what it is. So-called “mild” clinical depression symptoms fly free with obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms.
Clinical depression symptoms can arise in different combinations and they vary in intensity. But the symptoms are clinical when they combine in a way that creates misery and noticeable problems with living. What does this have to do with OCD disorder? It has everything to do with it. OCD disorder keeps the human brain in a state of nearly constant anxiety. This chronic anxiety eventually pushes the brain into state where it is chemically locked in to a depressed mood.
There is another important reason that OCD disorder naturally leads to clinical depression. Obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms are often very disruptive to personal growth, social relationships, and the ability to simply have a pleasant day. Amazingly, this can be true even when a person’s obsessions and compulsions drive them to staggering success in a particular profession.
I find that most people with anxiety disorders believe their symptoms of anxiety are less dysruptive than is actually the case as observed by those who know them. They think this because they have usually taught themselves to use avoidance as the main “tool” to bring relief from anxiety. Over time, they learn what activates stir up their obsessive anxiety and they just avoid those particular situations.
Of course, the real problem here is that avoidance itself is a major–perhaps the strongest–symptom of anxiety. In the case of OCD disorder, a man or a woman obessesses about ways to escape the stimulus to anxiety and then he or she compulsively avoids what is perceived as the cause of the anxiety. Little do they know that that by practicing avoidance they are simply nailing the splintered board of an anxiety disorder more firmly upon every aspect of life.
In short, OCD disorder can morph into an almost infinate variety of obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms, all using the same basic mechanism of obsessive thinking leading to compulsive behavior. Clinical depression symptoms, like obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms, are natural spinoffs from the obsessive compulsive syndrome that some call OCD disorder.
But I look at this as a strangely positive thing for many people. Without the misery of depression many people with OCD might never stop, face the problem, and get treatment.