Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a mental health disorder which features a pattern of unwanted obsessions, irrational thoughts and excessive unreasonable urges that lead you to follow repetitive behaviors over and over again. Obsessions include intrusive thoughts that activate intensely distressing urges to do certain things no matter useful or useless. Compulsions are the patterns in which affected individual gets involved to get rid of the obsessions to fulfil and satisfy his/her urge or to decrease the distress.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic, common and long lasting disorder in which a person has reoccurring thoughts, although most of us do have obsessions or compulsive behaviors at some point in our lives, but that does not mean that we all have some kind of OCD. OCD was previously categorized as an anxiety disorder for the reason that people affected by this disorder often experience severe anxiety attacks as a result of their obsessive thoughts.
Symptoms of OCD may come and go or ease to some extent over time, or might get even worse. Individuals with OCD may try to comfort themselves by escaping from the situations that activate their obsessions, or they may use drugs or medications to calm themselves. Even though most of the adults with OCD understand that what they are doing doesn’t make any sense, some adults and most youngsters may not understand that their behavior is impractical and a waste of time. Parents or teachers usually get familiar with OCD symptoms in children over time.
What are the symptoms of OCD?
Symptoms of OCD usually appear slowly and can be long-lasting if not treated. Symptoms tend to come and go over time and range from mild to severe. You may have a feeling that something bad will happen if you do not do a specific task, for instance checking again and again to see if the door is closed or not. However the symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as school, work and personal relationships, so far Anxiety is the most common symptom of OCD. In OCD, symptoms are divided into two separate categories, given as follows:
Symptoms of obsession:
Obsessions are unwanted thoughts or ideas that won’t go away, they get in the way of your normal thoughts and cause anxiety or fear, the symptoms include:
⦁ Aggressive thoughts towards oneself or others.
⦁ Fear of contamination or germs.
⦁ An urge to have everything arranged in a certain order.
⦁ Urge to bring perfection in every matter.
Symptoms of compulsion:
Compulsions are behaviors/tasks that have to be done over and over again in response to obsessive thoughts to relieve anxiety and to satisfy your inner self. Symptoms include:
⦁ Washing hands or stuff repeatedly in order to get rid of germs.
⦁ Organizing things in a precise way.
⦁ Counting stuff again and again to make sure about accuracy.
⦁ Compulsive counting.
⦁ Repeating things.
What are the causes of OCD?
The exact causes of OCD are yet not known, but there are some factors given below, which are thought to play a role in developing OCD:
Chemical factors in brain
A theory suggests that OCD comes from a disruption of transmitters in the brain that filters the thoughts and impulses. Consequently, you may experience obsessions and compulsions.
You can be at greater risk of developing OCD if there is a family history of this disorder. Researches have shown that if you, your parent, or a sibling has OCD, there is a 25% tendency that another immediate family member will also be having it.
Even though a single gene of OCD has not been identified, OCD may be related to specific groups of genes.
Pressure and stress
Tension from relationship difficulties, financial issues, problems at school, work, illness, or childbirth and such traumas in life can trigger symptoms of OCD.
What are the types of OCD?
There are a lot of types of OCD, it can have influence on any thought or any subject, common types include:
It involves the constant need to check the stuff in order to avoid damage and major hazards e.g. checking whether the door has been locked, or the stove have been turned off or not.
⦁ Mental Contamination
Mental contamination can be triggered when you feel yourself being badly treated either physically or mentally by criticism or abusive behavior.
It is the inability to dispose of useless or worn out assets/goods.
It is in fact a series of persistent thinking about a query or theme that is purposeless and fruitless
⦁ Intrusive Thoughts
Obsessional, disturbing and repetitive thoughts that are horrific in nature for example, thoughts of causing violence or harm to loved ones which don’t involve specific direct compulsions.
⦁ Symmetry and Orderliness
The obsessive fear of symmetry and orderliness includes the assurance that everything feels just right to prevent discomfort. Compulsion includes the need to have everything organized in an organized/symmetrical manner
It includes he fear of being dirty and urge to clean the hands or stuff again and again.
What are the risk factors of OCD?
Risk factors of OCD include:
OCD usually tends to develop in late adolescence or early adulthood.
⦁ Genetic factors:
Genes also play a role in the development of OCD. A person having OCD has a 25% chance of having a blood relative who has OCD.
⦁ Presence of other psychological conditions:
OCD is often seen to occur in people who have other anxiety disorders, a psychological trauma and depression, etc.
OCD often occurs during stress from major life changes, such as the death of a loved one, relationship difficulties, divorce or abuse etc.
⦁ Pregnancy and postpartum period:
OCD symptoms may worsen during and immediately after pregnancy, fluctuating hormones can trigger symptoms of OCD.
Complications of OCD:
Problems and complications that are the result of OCD can include one or a combination of the results below:
⦁ Loved ones may find it difficult to deal with individual having OCD.
⦁ Anxiety and stress
⦁ Suicidal behavior or thoughts.
⦁ Dermatitis from continual hand washing and other health issues like weakened immunity.
⦁ Unsatisfied life.
⦁ Excessive time spent engaging in impractical behaviors.
⦁ Difficulty in attending work or social activities.
⦁ If left untreated, OCD can lead to other severe mental health conditions, such as anxiety and panic attacks, and depression.
Issues occurring with OCD:
Some of the common mental health issues that are seen to occur with OCD include the following:
⦁ Social anxiety disorder
⦁ Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
⦁ Eating disorders
⦁ Major depressive disorder
⦁ Tourette syndrome
How is OCD diagnosed?
A diagnosis of OCD needs the presence of obsessions and/or compulsions that are time-consuming and causing significant suffering, and impairment in work or social functioning. Several brain imaging tests like MRI are also performed to diagnose OCD.
How to prevent OCD?
OCD might tend to be difficult to prevent but here are some ways given below to cope with it:
⦁ Practicing relaxation techniques to overcome anxiety helps.
⦁ To overcome the unnecessary fears expose yourself to things causing anxiousness, little by little enough to win against it.
⦁ Learn to accept changes.
⦁ Try to maintain daily schedules.
⦁ Sleep on time.
⦁ Eating healthy food maintains the feeling of satisfaction and good levels of Hemoglobin which help to control anxiety.
How to treat OCD?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can be treated. Although the treatment is not always long lasting and permanent, sometimes it again requires treatment sessions or long term medications. The treatment recommended will depend on how much it’s affecting your life and the severity of disorder. Following are the types of treatments recommended for OCD:
⦁ Psychological therapy: It helps you face your fears and obsessive thoughts without putting them right with compulsions. Two main types of psychological therapy for OCD are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy.
⦁ Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT gives you tools to think, act, and react to your unhealthy thoughts and habits. The goal is to replace negative thoughts with productive ones.
⦁ Exposure and response prevention (ERP): In ERP patient will be exposed to the things that trigger your ⦁ anxiety, a little at a time. You’ll learn new ways to respond to them in place of your repetitive rituals.
⦁ Medication: Antidepressants are often the first medications to treat anxiety related to OCD. Your doctor may prescribe clomipramine (Anafranil), fluvoxamine (Luvox) and fluoxetine (Prozac) etc.
There are some other treatment options, for the patients who are not responsive to treatments mentioned above:
⦁ Deep brain stimulation (DBS).
⦁ Intensive outpatient and residential treatment programs.
⦁ Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
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