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Am I suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder?

Q: I am a 23 years old student who has a habit of checking and re-checking things like the door lock. I am usually apprehensive about things around me. I have been doing these things repeatedly for the last eight months. I am also keep checking my bank account repeatedly. Am I suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder? How can it be managed?

A:It appears that this repeated checking of various things is also associated with a lot of anxiety and distress. It also sounds that it is affecting your level of functionality and day to day routine.

It also appears that you seem to have a level of understanding of your checking behaviour and the distress it is causing it. That just implies that you have a level of insight into what is bothering you.

In fact what is amazing is that you have provided a very accurate description of your symptoms and distress - which is consistent with what is understood as obsessive compulsive disorder. Obsessive compulsive disorder is considered to be a type of anxiety disorder which presents with unwanted, sense less, distressing repetitive thoughts or actions or both. People can also experience repetitive doubts, images or urges which can drive a person to do certain meaningless acts repetitively.

However, the point here is that this disorder is manageable best by a combination of medications and cognitive behaviour therapy. Several medications of the Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) group have been found to be very helpful in alleviating the symptoms. This combined with particularly exposure and response prevention by a trained clinical psychologist can work wonders.


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