OCD: Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

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OCD “Obsessive-compulsive disorder” is a severe mental health complication that is characterized by obsessions that may develop into compulsive behaviours. OCD is depicted by the repetitive, and irrational need to get some things done.

People with OCD would commonly double-check to ensure that they didn’t forget to turn off the gas, or locked the front door. They may also have specific clothes they wear on special occasions. Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder are generally stuck on habits or simple rituals that make them more comfortable when executed their way.

Individuals diagnosed with the disorder often feel compelled to repeatedly carry out some rituals, even though they know they don’t have to. Sufferers are usually aware that their behaviours and thoughts are quite irrational, but they find it difficult to control the urge.

Anxiety

Symptoms

Compulsive behaviours and obsessive thoughts connected with OCD typically last for more than an hour every day. The life of a person diagnosed with the disorder may even be affected by the condition. Some of the obvious symptoms associated with the disorder include:

  • Obsessions: This is usually the repeated annoying thoughts or urges that a patient has to deal with. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder sometimes try their best to suppress or ignore their obsession but usually succumb out of fear that what they are thinking might be true.

The anxiety linked with this suppression can only be endured long enough, and the only way to calm their anxiety is to engage in compulsive habits.

  • Compulsions: This is characterized by the repetitive behaviours that help to relieve anxiety and stress temporarily. Most times, people with compulsive desires believe their daily rituals will hinder bad things from happening.
OCD

Causes

We are yet to know the exact cause of OCD, but experts believe that there are specific areas in our brain that may not react well to serotonin. This is the chemical that encourages communication in some nerve cells. Also, there are beliefs that genetics may also contribute to the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder in some people.

When a person, their parents, or siblings suffer from OCD, then there is a 25% chance that other family members may have it.

Types of OCD

There are several types of compulsions and obsessions, but the most common ones include:

  • Obsessions that include fear of being contaminated (germs) that may cause an individual to constantly wash and clean
  • Obsessions associated with perfectionism or symmetry with the compulsions to arranging or remaking

Other obsessions may include:

  • Unwanted and intrusive sexual thoughts
  • Fear of hurting oneself or others
  • Fear of impulsive actions. These would usually involve compulsive behaviours like checking, praying, counting, and repeating.

OCD in children

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can develop in children withing two age bracket: middle childhood “8 to 12 years” and late adolescence to emerging adulthood “18 to 25 years”. The chances of girls developing OCD at an older age is higher than in boys. Notwithstanding, there is an increased occurrence of OCD in boys than in girls during childhood.

OCPD vs OCD

While there are similarities in the names, OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder) and OCD are quite different conditions. OCD commonly involves the obsessions that are linked to compulsive behaviours. In contrast, OCPD can be attributed to a combination of personality traits that can sometimes interfere with people’s relationships.

An obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is characterized as the severe need for perfection, orderliness, and control, even within interpersonal associations. However, obsessive-compulsive disorder is generally limited to a string of compulsions and obsessive thoughts.

It is very likely for individuals with OCD to get help, mainly because they are disturbed by the symptoms linked with the disorder. Furthermore, people with OCPD would usually ignore their rigidity and desire for perfectionism, no matter how it negatively affects their social stands and well-being.

Diagnosis

A mental health therapist carries out a proper diagnosis of OCD. This professional would utilize a series of methods to properly diagnose the condition before advising treatment.

One of the more commonly used tools is the Y-BOCS (Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale). This is used to assess a different variety of compulsions and obsessions, including the degree of the symptoms triggered by the condition.

Treatment

The treatment plan for OCD would typically include medications and psychotherapy. The combination of both treatments is generally the most efficient way of managing the condition.

  • Medication: OCD patients can take advantage of antidepressants to reduce the symptoms associated with the condition. An SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor is an antidepressant that can be used to manage compulsion and obsessive behaviours.
  • Therapy: Consult with a mental health expert who can help you control your behavioural patterns and thoughts. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), as well as exposure and response therapy, can significantly help individuals with OCD. ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) is developed to allow people with obsessive-compulsive disorder to manage their anxiety connected with obsessive thoughts.

Risk factors

Our genetics play a vital role in OCD, and many people are at risk of developing the condition if a member of their family is diagnosed with the disorder. Symptoms of OCD may worsen when a sufferer becomes stressed and other conditions that may occur include:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Outlook

OCD symptoms can worsen over time without treatment and impact your personal relationships and quality of life. There could be worse treatment results for people with “bad insight”. This includes those who have embraced their obsessions and compulsions. It can make therapy particularly necessary if a person with OCD isn’t fully aware of how severe their condition is.

OCD symptoms also improve with treatment. It will help to improve day-to-day functioning and quality of life by getting proper care. At times, treatment isn’t always simple. It’s not uncommon for therapy to evoke feelings of depression and anxiety. However, individuals who stick with their recovery plan, even though at first they have a difficult time with it, usually fair better.

Discuss with your therapist if therapy just doesn’t seem to work, or your medicine causes unwanted side effects. Before you find the treatment that would work, you might need to try a few different methods. The secret to change is working with a supportive therapist who understands your symptoms and needs.

Conclusion

The symptoms of OCD can manifest in several ways. OCD may also be associated with other disorders and circumstances of mental well-being, such as anxiety, schizophrenia, a tic disorder or postpartum OCD. Nonetheless, treatment can help with symptoms of whatever condition you have.

If you struggle with daily activities and personal relationships due to symptoms of OCD, consult with your therapist or your primary care provider. These experts can administer the right treatment and effective ways to deal with OCD.

Sources

Everything You Want to Know About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Healthline

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