Obsessive-compulsive disorders, also known as OCD is somewhat common in America. At least 1% of American adults suffer from OCD yearly.
So, learning everything you can about OCD is important.
This is a mental condition that causes repetitive urges, sensations, or thoughts. These thoughts or actions are unwanted and usually compel a person to do the same things repeatedly.
Repetitive urges and thoughts are obsessions while repeated actions are compulsions. Most people who suffer from OCD will have one of these problems. However, it is possible to have both obsessions and compulsions.
People who have OCD are usually under a lot of stress because of their condition. Attempts to suppress compulsions and obsession might also make them anxious.
Performing those repetitive rituals is the only way to release some of their tension.
People affected with OCD can get depressed and ashamed of their condition. Seeking treatment early is key to managing the situation.
OCD has been divided into mainly four categories. While there are other types of OCD, these are the most common.
This category usually suffers from unwanted thought processes. These thoughts can be about violence and aggression.
People with this form of OCD have a thinking obsession.
As the name suggests, people with this OCD are afraid of being contaminated by dirt or germs. Thus, they are compelled to clean constantly.
For others, the problem of contamination might be mental. So, they might feel like dirt because of how they are treated by others.
This form of OCD is marked by an obsession to keep checking the state of other things.
People with this form of OCD find themselves checking alarms, locks, or switches repeatedly.
People suffering from this form of OCD want things to be done in a particular way. For example, they might want their clothes to be arranged in the same pattern or books to be organized in the same order.
Not following this order causes them distress.
Symptoms are classified as obsessions or compulsions. Obsessive symptoms of OCD include
Repetitiveness is the most important way of identifying a symptom. The persistence of these symptoms is also a determining factor.
People with OCD usually feel compelled to act on these thoughts because of their persistence.
Compulsive symptoms of OCD include
Basically, compulsive actions follow obsessions. Most compulsions happen when a person now believes their obsessions to be true.
Following their compulsion is their way of relieving the stress that comes from obsessions.
There is no precise cause of OCD. However, certain factors can play a role. These are
Family History- People who have family members with OCD are more likely to get it. This risk increases when it’s a close family member.
Brain/Hormonal Imbalances- OCD has been linked to serotonin imbalances in the brain. This is the hormone responsible for regulating sleep and your mood.
Age- OCD can begin at any time from preschool to 40 years. However, it’s more common among young adults and teenagers.
Medical Condition- The presence of other mental health issues can also be a contributing factor. People suffering from depression, bipolar disorders, e.t.c. are more likely to have OCD.
Trauma/Extreme Stress- Extreme stress relating to work or personal life makes a person more likely to have OCD.
Childhood Abuse- People who had a tough or traumatic childhood have a greater chance of developing OCD.
Brain injury and childhood acute neuropsychiatric symptoms are also contributing factors.
OCD symptoms in children might be slightly different. It’s also more difficult to spot these symptoms as they may appear milder in children.
The symptoms in children might cut across the different classifications for OCD. Tics are also early signs of OCD in children.
If you suspect your child is developing OCD, please contact your doctor immediately.
OCD and OCPD are fundamentally different. While OCD involves obsessions and compulsions, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is more about control and attaining perfection.
OCPD is characterized by the need to follow rules and orders, inflexibility towards morals/ethics, and extreme perfectionism.
An OCD diagnosis is usually done by a mental health expert. You can expect questions on
It’s normal for your doctor to run some tests to rule out other physical conditions or issues. They might also ask you about any current medications.
Because OCD shares similar symptoms with other mental health issues, misdiagnosis can happen.
Thus, your mental health expert needs all the necessary information for an accurate diagnosis.
Therapy usually involves psychotherapy. The treatment’s main aim is to rewire your thought process. Most doctors will use the exposure and prevention method to help you control your compulsions.
Other methods used include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).
Medications that focus on serotonin in the body are useful against OCD. These medications are referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
Popular ones include sertraline, fluoxetine, and citalopram. These drugs usually need to be taken for at least 2 months to see improvement. Other antipsychotics drugs like risperidone can also help.
While they do not cure OCD, home remedies can help you handle your condition better. Some of them are
OCD has no known cure. However, symptoms can improve with treatment. So, to be able to properly manage your condition, starting treatment early is important.
If you notice any repeated signs of OCD, please contact your doctor immediately.
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Alyssa Mueller is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Mental Health from California State University of Fullerton as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on intercultural and interpersonal communication from California State University of Long Beach. Compassion, empowerment and unconditional positive regard are the foundations of her clinical practice, Alyssa has a passion for helping others and her priority is to hold space for clients to feel heard, to feel safe and to find fulfillment and self-love on their recovery journey. Alyssa specializes in addiction treatment, self-esteem building, mindfulness practices, grief and loss, trauma informed care, and self-compassion as well as individual and family therapy. She has extensive experience working with high risk populations in various clinical settings such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, outpatient treatment, schools, and community outreach. Alyssa uses a client centered and holistic approach to address the client as a whole person in order to help them to feel empowered and facilitate their confidence and independence.
Charee has worked in the recovery field for 10 years.Charee is dedicated to supporting and inspiring clients to live a healthy lifestyle filled with meaning and purpose.Charee has extensive clinical experience within the recovery field in both inpatient and outpatient settings.She specializes in working with individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction however she has also clinical experience in assisting individuals,couples and families in working through a variety of concerns,including: depression,anxiety,relationship & communication issues,substance abuse,grief & loss,trauma, life transitions, and many others.Charee works with each client to specialize their treatment plan with what works best for the client in a compassionate and effective way. She emphasizes the strength of every individual client and fosters an environment of personal growth and internal healing from a mind, body and spiritual approach.Charee received her Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University, Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women and Gender Studies, in addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.
I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when I moved to California from New York.Along wiht my recovery and beginning a new way of life,I began to develop a heart for others struffling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growht.I truly believe i would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.I started CPR as a way to work with people in recovery on a daily basis and it evolved into something much more beautiful. I have also come to realize that my own personal happiness and recovery depends on being involved in the lives of people in recovery. Helping others recover is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, as it is here. Giving back to those still suffering, is the only way not to lose what you have gained. It is the paradox that we live by every day.