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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is also known as OCD. It is a mental ailment that causes specific changes in the brain as well as the behaviour of the patient. It can also cause severe anxiety and lead the patient to consume a lot of time for completing even the most normal tasks. These obsessions are like thoughts, images and even videos playing where the cause of a certain action becomes more profound with the number of imagined risks if it is not done in a specific way, as per the mind of the patient. These turn into repetitive actions undertaken by the patient, where these actions are known as compulsions.
Hence the term: obsessive compulsive disorder. Washing, cleaning, losing control, contamination fears and more are only a few of the thoughts that plague patients suffering from this disorder. While this disorder may not have a specific cure, there are various ways in which it can be managed. Let us look at some of these methods.
Causes of OCD
The exact cause of OCD is unknown. It is generally considered unlikely that OCD develops purely psychologically as a consequence of the way we are brought up.
- Genetics and Physiology: It is generally accepted that OCD arises from differences in the physiology of the brain in people with the condition.
- Serotonin: Lack of serotonin activity appears to be involved in causing OCD. Serotonin is a calming and inhibitory neurotransmitter, one of its main actions is to control and put the brakes on painful, worrying or anxious thoughts.
- Traumatic Life Events: Traumatic emotional events such as bereavement may trigger or worsen OCD in people who already have a tendency to have the condition.
Treatment of OCD
- Nutritional Therapy: Try tryptophan and St John's Wort to increase serotonin. Rhodiola has been shown to help generalised anxiety disorder however Rhodiola has the ability to raise 'brain energy' and therefore hypothetically may exa-sperate OCD symptoms.
- The Inositol Treatment of OCD: Inositol, one of the B vitamins, has been found effective in treating OCD. Inositol is used in biochemical processes that affect serotonin receptors.
- Psychotherapy: This is also known as discussion or talk therapy where the patient is allowed to engage with a therapist who is usually a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist. The doctor will help the patient in first of all, becoming aware of the problem by helping the patient carry out various tasks in a controlled environment. These tasks will be timed and then relayed to the patient before the exposure therapy begins, where the patient will be taught to build a better quality of life. This a long term and time taking process which can also involve group sessions and sessions with the family members. Also, this method takes a lot of practice so that the patient learns how to regulate the obsessions and stop the compulsive behaviour gradually.
- Exercise: Numerous studies have shown the benefits of exercise upon mental health. So, a minimum of 20mins of daily exercise can help you a lot.
- Relaxation Training & Meditation: Learning meditation and relaxation techniques may enhance one's ability to control anxiety and one's thoughts in general.
- Medication: There are various kinds of medicines that can be prescribed for these patients. Anti-depressants can help the patient in overcoming the fears and anxiety that a person feels when the wheels of one's imagination begin to turn towards obsessive thoughts. This will also help in tackling the hopelessness that the person feels when faced with the so called depressing outcome of not bowing to the compulsive habits.
Putting It All Together
- Follow the diet for serotonin deficient depression, and GABA deficient anxiety.
- Consult with a qualified therapist using behavioural rather than analytical techniques.
- Do some repetitive mind-occupying/filling as opposed to mind-emptying meditations everyday.
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Drug addiction is one of the social menaces and in most people, what starts off as a result of peer pressure and trying to be cool ends up affecting lives significantly. It is not just social, but also affects financial, physical, emotional, and social well-being. The small periods of happiness given by the drug is followed by months and years of torment.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has identified that drug addiction causes chemical and structural changes in the brain, leading to dangerous and self-destructive behaviours. The brain’s response to stimulus like pleasure, joy, happiness, and pain are altered with constant drug abuse. For instance, the neurotransmitter called dopamine, which makes one feel good, is usually produced by the brain in small amounts. However, drugs increase this level to 2 to 10 times more, making the person feel extremely high and happy. Since the body is unable to reach the highest level of happiness on its own, the dependency on these drugs to feel good increases.
Repeated use of the drugs leads to increased dependency, wherein the brain refuses to feel good without reaching those high levels of dopamine. The issue is mostly seen in teenagers and young adults but can be seen in any age group.
October 2 is recognised as National Anti-Drug Addiction Day and nationwide campaigns and drives are done to help people overcome addiction. One of the main reasons a drive this size is required is because of the social stigma attached to the problem. Most families shun away from recognising it as a problem that can be easily treated, and so the affected person is sucked deeper into the problem.
Overcoming addiction: One of the main success factors for treating addiction is for the affected person to recognise that he or she is addicted and needs to get rid of the problem.
- There are national toll-free helplines that are set up, which can guide through the whole program. This way, if required, anonymity is maintained and support for overcoming addiction is increased.
- It involves a group effort involving the affected person, family and friends, medical and clinical personnel, and counsellors in some cases.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy: The person is made conscious of the change in behaviour and the way drugs affect it. Healthier patterns to be happy and joyful are discussed.
- In most cases, the underlying reason for reaching out to drugs needs to be addressed also to prevent relapse.
- Group therapies where the person makes friends who have faced similar issues and overcome the problem. This increases their accountability and commitment to getting rid of the problem.
Drug abuse is a national social menace and needs more free admittance and management. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Psychiatrist.
World Alzheimer’s Day is celebrated on the 21st of September each year. A number of organizations, from all over the world concentrate on raising the awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a very common type of dementia. It falls under the group of disorders in which mental functioning gets impaired.
Life for an Alzheimer’s patients is quite difficult, but by following the following tips, you can support yourself and will also help you to cope with it.
- You have to accept the changes and accept that life will continue getting difficult. Instead of trying to cover your difficulties for protection from embarrassment, you should face the fact. You also have to accept the changes in your physical abilities and adapt to skills, which are beneficial.
- You should develop some ideal coping strategies. Try to be occupied and involved and respond to the challenges you face in everyday life. By practicing the coping skills you will be able to gain a sense of control in your life.
- Try to identify stuff. Make a list of all the tasks which seem challenging to you and try to develop coping strategies for these tasks. Prioritize your tasks and determine whether it is really necessary to overcome certain tasks. You should also strategize solutions and come up with solutions which would suit you best.
- You should set realistic goals and expectations for yourself and use the coping skills to deal with difficult tasks. In case of very challenging tasks, do not hesitate to take help.
- A daily routine or plan is required for keeping a track of several tasks. A schedule reduces the amount of time you spend to figure out something, simplifying your task and also prevents mistakes.
- Always approach one task at a time and take enough time to complete tasks. Do not give up on challenging tasks and take breaks to figure things out.
- Always remember that you have more than a single chance to solve problems. If one chance fails, you should adopt new strategies and try again and again with better assessment.
- You should identify the triggers which cause anxiety and stress. Knowing the causes will allow you to plan in advance so that you can prevent them.
- Keep in mind that your family, friends, pets, will power and prayers are sources of great strength and will help you get past any obstacle.
- You should accept help from others and do not hesitate or think about being dependent on others.
You should take the advice from your psychiatrist or from Alzheimer Association National Early-Stage Advisors in order to understand the challenges such as medications, management of schedules and dealing with emotional or relationship changes.