Are you a bit anal-retentive, or do you have a full-blown case of obsessive-compulsive disorder? Here's how to know the difference.
Step 1: Rate your anxiety Rate your anxiety level. Many people are worrywarts, but OCD sufferers have persistent and disturbing thoughts, images, and impulses that they can't suppress.
Step 2: Look for a pattern Ask yourself if your obsessions have a theme. Common ones include an intense fear of germs; needing things to be symmetrical in order to feel calm; and violent or sexual thoughts you can't control.
Step 3: Consider how you handle your fears Consider how you handle your obsession. People with OCD try to control their worries or distressing impulses with rituals like constant hand-washing, counting in certain patterns, cleaning excessively, double-checking for safety hazards, and making sure objects are aligned.
TIP: Most adults with OCD recognize that their rituals are out of the ordinary, but most children with the disorder do not.
Step 4: Weigh how much your rituals interfere with your life Weigh how much your rituals interfere with your life. OCD sufferers spend more than an hour a day performing their repetitive behaviors. Some are so controlled by their compulsions that they interfere with their ability to hold a job or sustain a relationship.
Step 5: Get diagnosed See a doctor if you suspect you have OCD. A combination of medication and therapy can relieve symptoms in most sufferers.
FACT: Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects 2.2 million American adults.