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.
Ordering and Symmetry
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
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
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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