1. Washing Your Hands
Compulsive hand-washing or over-using hand sanitiser is so common in OCD that “washers” has become a largely known relation among those who suffer with OCD. The urge is commonly stemmed from an individual having a fear of germs, which is currently the most common obsession seen in OCD, but it can also be traced to have aspects branching off in fears of making others sick or of being impure or immoral, so to speak.
If you think about germs even after washing your hands, worry that you’re not scrubbing well enough, or have irrational fears about disease (such as getting HIV from a shopping cart), it could be a sign that your hand-washing is considered compulsive, at least, according to experts.
2. Double (Or Triple) Checking
At some point, we’re all guilty of being a little over cautious about whether we turned the stove off properly or locked the door before leaving the house. Although, these so-called checking behaviours, which entitle returning three, four, or even sometimes 100 times to make sure the task at hand is safely and responsibly completed, are the most common compulsions associated with having OCD, which is currently affecting nearly 30% of people with the disorder. Like other compulsive behaviours associated with OCD, checking can be driven by a variety of obsessions that range from a fear of getting hurt to deep-seated feelings of irresponsibility.
According to experts, it’s perfectly normal to double-check something once in a while. But if checking interferes with your daily life, or you find yourself making a habit out of it where it becomes a ritual that you can’t do without, it could be a sign of OCD.
It’s pretty safe to assume that everyone overthinks things from time to time. However, if you find that your alone time is spent being overcome by rethinking one specific situation or memory in your head, you may be experiencing signs of having OCD.
“[People with OCD] may sit alone rethinking a particular situation, conversation or other interaction, or, they may rehearse an upcoming one and go through it over and over again,” According to psychiatrist Prakash Masand M.D, founder of the Centre’s of Psychiatric Excellenc says. Not all OCD involves outward habits. So, it turns out that regardless of whether you end up with a diagnosis of OCD or not, if your overthinking is making it hard to participate in daily life, it’s important to check in with a professional.
4. Making Everything Symmetrical
A symmetrical living space is quite aesthetically pleasing. But if you’re spending your time in private making sure things are symmetrical, even in other people’s houses, it may be a sign of OCD.
According to researchers, individuals with this particular type of OCD may have difficulty leaving their home in the morning if their bed isn’t made exactly how they like it, along with many smaller similar factors.
5. Creating Lists
If your alone time is often filled with you just making list after list and note taking just about anything you can think of, then you may be experiencing OCD symptoms.
“We look at this as organised, on top of things, and being sure and safe to get work done,” Dr. Klapow says. “But the obsession around the thought of possibly forgetting, and the compulsion to write it down so as not to forget, can turn itself into a vicious cycle were more time is spent making lists and reminders than actually doing the tasks on the lists and reminders.” If you feel like you absolutely can’t function without making lists, it may be worth checking with a professional to see if you have OCD.