2. You compulsively wash your hands
It’s good to wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom, as well as before preparing food.
Do you often have trouble limiting hand washing to the recommended 20 seconds? Do you often not feel right unless you wash your hands repeatedly?
3. Contamination concerns
In the age of COVID-19, it’s good to think about how you can stay safe from virus exposure.
However, if you take more drastic steps than most people to avoid germs (coronavirus or otherwise), HIV, sexually transmitted infections, or other illnesses, it may be a symptom of OCD.
4. Needing to feel “just right”
This symptom involves the need to do something repeatedly until it feels “just right.” This feeling can be either physical or mental, and it feels important to achieve it before you can move on.
5. Harm obsessions
These are fears that you have harmed or will harm others without meaning to.
For example, wondering if you accidentally hit a pedestrian on your morning commute and didn’t notice, or fearing that you’ll punch an elderly person when walking down the street if you don’t put your hands in your pockets.
What should you do if you have one or more of the warning signs?
As you can tell from the list above, OCD can be easy to identify or very difficult, depending on the symptoms.
If any of the items on the above list are a problem for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have OCD.
It is, however, recommended that you consider getting an evaluation from a mental health professional with experience diagnosing OCD. This can provide helpful clarity on the nature of the problem — whether or not it turns out to be OCD.
The recommended treatments for OCD are either a specific form of therapy called exposure and response prevention or certain medications. Both types of treatment have been shown to be significantly helpful.