Many people here in New Jersey and elsewhere joke about suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, but for many more people, it is no joke. Suffering from OCD can make it difficult for someone to live a normal life.

Make no mistake; a true case of OCD is a mental illness. An individual may know what he or she is doing but cannot stop or help it. If you suffer from this illness, your life probably feels out of control. The thought of going to work may cause you anxiety because of the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that you must deal with just to leave your home.

How do you know if it’s OCD?

Are you unsure whether you suffer from OCD? The following information may help you determine whether you should seek professional help:

  • You need to keep everything in an exact order.
  • You must wash your hands a certain number of times in a row.
  • You worry about the safety of loved ones.
  • You have a fear of shaking hands, touching doorknobs and using public toilets.
  • You are constantly aware of breathing, blinking and other sensations.
  • You need to perform certain tasks in a certain order and a certain number of times.
  • You have a fear of getting dirty and of germs.
  • You must constantly check light switches, doors or other things.
  • You believe that certain colors or numbers are either good or bad.
  • You feel compelled to count objects such as bottles or steps.
  • You suspect your partner of infidelity even though no evidence of it exists.
  • You have a need for cleanliness, hoarding or order.
  • You could become obsessed with thoughts about any number of things.

You may be aware that your actions and thoughts aren’t rational, and you may even try to stop. However, at some point, your world just doesn’t seem right, and you resume your behaviors and thoughts.

Why did this happen to you?

You may often ask yourself this very question. Doctors require more research in order to figure it out, but many say that the following could trigger or contribute to your OCD:

  • You suffer from tics, anxiety or depression.
  • You experienced a trauma.
  • You have a child, parent or sibling with OCD.
  • You suffered sexual or physical abuse during your childhood.

As you already know, stress tends to increase your symptoms. At present, doctors cannot cure OCD. If your condition leaves you unable to work, it could significantly impact your ability to financially provide for you and your family. It may be possible for you to receive benefits through the Social Security disability insurance program.