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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Symptom & Treatment

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Symptom & Treatment

If you are of fan of Friends, how can you forget Monica’s Obsession with cleanness and organizing things and the other one was Sheldon’s fear of Germs (The Big Bang Theory) – This is one of the forms of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). But to your astonishment, this is much more than that.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental disorder. People who have OCD suffer from Obsession and or Compulsion. Obsession is recurrent thoughts, but they can also be images. Typically, these obsessions can cause a lot of anxiety a lot of distress. Therefore, the person who tries to remove obsessions. Or, tries to get rid of these obsessions typically by engaging in a compulsion.

What are common Obsessions and Compulsions?

The OCD victim can have uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts and fear, all of which interfere with daily routine. In some cases, people are familiar with this condition and try to suppress such repetitive behaviours: But that backfires differently and causes a great deal of distress.

Sometimes, in order to fulfil the Obsession, the person ends up harming oneself. Most common obsessions include:

  • fears of contamination
  • fear of having lost
  • fears of having made a mistake
  • Concern for symmetry or exactness
  • Concern for violent thoughts (Many people have) *
  • Concern for sexual thoughts*
  • Concern for religious thoughts*

Common compulsions include:  

  • Frequent hand washing.
  • Frequent cleaning.
  • Checking things repeatedly.
  • Reaping something often

But compulsion can be mental –

  • Praying to prevent something from happening.
  • Reviewing something over and over.

What is the trigger or symptoms of OCD?

Triggers are what is happening prior to OCD really starting. Symptoms are the obsession and compulsion that we tend to see in OCD. For instance: – A trigger could be something like a doorknob, and the Obsession may occur that if they touch that doorknob, they are going to be sick or their family member gets sick. In response, they would wash their hands repeatedly, known as a compulsion.

There are so many different triggers for OCD because OCD is known as a heterogeneous disorder. For example – A trigger could also be just seeing a person. And, the individual might have a sexual obsession, so the Obsession could be – what if I molest this him/her. The compulsion could be asking forgiveness over and over again.

How common is OCD (Obsession Compulsion Disorder), and when does it start?

OCD is a common mental disorder that occurs one-two percent of people in the general population. It has two peaks of onset, 1) It may start in childhood, and 2) other one is in early adulthood. However, most individuals develop OCD before the age of 25. People with OCD might wait for years, before they seek medical help or receive a proper diagnosis. This is due to a lack of awareness and stigma around OCD. As a result, it gets caught in chronic conditions. So, it typically waxes and veins, but it cannot go away without the treatment.

What causes OCD?

The exact reason is still under research, but Dr. Sabine Wilhelm, Ph.D. (Chef of Psychology, Massachusetts General and Director of the Center for OCD) says, it may involve genetics and Biological, Psychological factors, and Environmental factors with regard to genetics. Research shows that OCD runs in families. If you already have one of your family members who have OCD, you are more likely to develop OCD yourself.

According to functional imaging studies, certain areas of the brain (the Orbitofrontal Cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and caudate nucleus) are hyperactive in OCD. People with OCD involve problems between the front part of the brain and deeper structures of the brain. These brain structures use a Neurotransmitter called Serotonin.

According to Dr. Sabine, certain personality traits, such as high levels of perfectionism might predispose someday to develop OCD. Certain Environmental factors can cause OCD, including a stressful life event or psychological trauma.

What are the treatments for OCD? 

There are two most effective treatments for OCD. One is Psychotherapy, known as Cognitive Behavior therapy (CBT), which involves exposure and response prevention and the other one is pharmacotherapy, called serotonin reuptake (SRIs). Cognitive behavior therapy is a form of psychoeducation where people get familiar with their disorders. Later, they do Cognitive Exercises, which help the victims to cope with and change problematic thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. CBT is a short-term treatment, usually about 16 to 20 sessions for patients to complete. The results are impressive – about 75% of patients respond to cognitive behavior therapy.

Is it possible that it can occur again after the treatment?

On average, 23% of patients experience relapses after CBT. It was initially successful. In that case, the people often only need to remind themselves of what really has helped them during their treatment. So, keep your eyes on your toolbox and re-engage in some of those treatment strategies. If an individual cannot do it on their own. They can see a therapist. It might just need a few booster sessions, and they will be fine.

How is OCD different from wanting to do a good job or perform well?

Many people are neat & freaks. Does that mean they have OCD? The short answer is NO, those people – “neat and freak” really love and enjoy it when things are clean and organized. This is very different from actual suffering that’s associated with genuine obsession and compulsion in OCD. So, if someone is enjoying it, it isn’t OCD.

What are some Common Comorbidities with OCD?

Many people with OCD have other disorders called depressive disorders, which commonly co-occur with OCD. But People with OCD can have panic disorder, even eating disorders, and other comorbidities too. There are also many disorders that look like OCD. Body Dysmorphic disorder is a good example of it.

It can be misdiagnosed as this disorder shares many similarities with other relatives of OCD, including compulsive hair pulling (trichotillomania) or excoriation disorders (picking their skin repetitively). So, if you have OCD, or your family members have one. You need to know that there is hope. It has effective therapy for individuals with OCD.

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