There is a difference between relatively minor compulsions and obsessive compulsive disorder. This mental disorder causes intrusive and disturbing thoughts that are impossible to ignore. In the grip of these thoughts, patients turn to irrational rituals that provide some relief from their anxiety.
These rituals can be tied to a particular fear, such as germs. Excessive hand washing or an inability to touch doorknobs are common symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, which is also known as OCD. However, OCD-related behaviors need not be tied to a specific anxiety. Other rituals can include opening or closing a door a specific number of times, or counting to a certain number before the person is able to do an activity.
As readers can imagine, having to perform rituals all the time can make many jobs difficult, especially if the symptoms worsen over time. The disease typically starts in childhood or young adulthood. Patients may be able to hold down a job at first, but if their OCD is not treated, they may find themselves overwhelmed by it.
Early detection and treatment can be effective, but one psychiatrist noted that only a third of OCD patients are getting the appropriate medication. Meanwhile, those receiving proven treatment methods improve significantly 60 to 85 percent of the time, according to the New York Times.
In addition, an OCD diagnosis may qualify the patient for Social Security Disability, depending on the applicant’s work history and other factors. Applying for SSD benefits can be difficult, and may require an appeal before the applicant gets the benefits he or she deserves.