What are the Social Signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental condition that is characterized by a compulsive need to perform certain routines or think certain thoughts. As a chronic condition, OCD can affect all parts of a person’s daily life. It may interfere with a person’s romantic life, friendships, and more. Understanding the social signs of obsessive compulsive disorder can make it easier to manage the condition.
What Are the Social Signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
In day to day life, OCD typically presents in the form of intrusive thoughts and repetitive rituals. Most patients have persistent thoughts that cause intense anxiety, and performing rituals can help temporarily calm these obsessive concerns.
A person with OCD tends to struggle with social situations, even if they are not worried about hiding their symptoms from others. The condition is closely linked to depression and anxiety, making it hard to interact with others. In social situations, OCD may present itself through one or more of the following symptoms:
- Constant fears that people are mad at them
- Unrealistic worries about their relationships
- Feeling too tired to socialize
- Being late or not attending social gatherings for unexplained reasons
- Anger or lashing out when rituals are interrupted
- Sudden unexplained avoidance of friends or family members
- Rigid expectations for friends and family
How OCD Affects Family Life
Since most of a person’s time is spent around family members, OCD is most likely to affect these relationships. OCD rituals have a tendency to cause delays and disruptions in family life, which can lead to resentment on both sides. This is especially true if the family member has become involved in a ritual, such as the OCD person tugging their sibling’s hair a set number of times. There can be a lot of social friction because a person with OCD may get mad when rituals are interrupted or become clingy and anxious due to intrusive thoughts telling them they are disliked.
Maintaining positive family relationships requires both sides to be understanding. Family members need to provide an OCD person with enough time and space for their condition while avoiding enabling. At the same time, people with OCD need to work on getting OCD treatment and not pulling others into OCD rituals and anxieties. For the best outcomes, it is usually a good idea for all members of the family to attend family therapy.
How OCD Affects Friendships
Many people with OCD end up feeling socially isolated because the condition can make it so hard to make friends. The first challenge is simply getting to know people and building friendships. Having intrusive thoughts like “everyone dislikes you” or “you’re talking in a weird voice” makes it very hard to open up to others. If you are self-conscious about your OCD, it may feel easier to avoid others instead of getting into situations where you display symptoms. The symptoms of OCD can also make it hard to maintain friendships. People with OCD may be too worn out from rituals to support friends, and their rituals may leave them little time for social outings. Over time, this can cause friendships to fade.
Making and keeping friends when you have OCD is very challenging, but it is also rewarding. Being able to have close social relationships can help prevent the depression that is so common in OCD. Therapy can help people with OCD manage their symptoms and get the courage to put themselves out there instead of staying isolated. Being upfront with friends about the social challenges of OCD can help them be more understanding of the fact that friendship with you may be different.
How OCD Affects Dating
OCD can also affect the search for a life partner. People with OCD may struggle with intrusive thoughts telling them “Are you sure this person is the one?” or “Should you keep dating them even though you hate it when they bite their nails?” A particularly challenging part of dating with OCD is simply the OCD stigma. Many people struggle with knowing when to disclose OCD to their partners. Mentioning it immediately can cause potential partners to focus on stereotypes instead of your actual personality. However, waiting until you get to know a person can make them feel misled. Typically, experts recommend being upfront and providing information on how your OCD affects you.
If you do find someone to date, close romantic relationships are affected by OCD in several unique ways. People with OCD tend to have high levels of insecurity, so they need a partner who can provide frequent affection and affirmation. Depression and anxiety can affect arousal levels, making your sex life less frequent. To maintain a romantic relationship, most OCD people need a lot of support and assistance. Both personal OCD treatment and couples therapy can help with some of the challenges. Educating your partner on your OCD symptoms can help them interact with you in a more positive way.
Using TMS Treatment for OCD
If you have OCD, you do not have to let inconvenient symptoms and social OCD stigma keep you from building rewarding relationships. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may be able to provide relief. This non-invasive, pain-free treatment involves using magnetic fields to stimulate the brain. Repeated treatments can help activate areas of the brain and improve overall functioning. An analysis of multiple studies involving TMS on OCD patients concluded that it was a safe and highly effective treatment. Especially when the TMS targeted the orbitofrontal cortex and supplementary motor area, it helped to reduce overall OCD-related symptoms.
Getting relief from OCD symptoms can make it easier to focus on your relationships and social life. At Pulse TMS we can help you manage your OCD through the use of TMS treatment. Give us a call today to learn more about our services.