I am Dr. Kushal Jain. I did my specialisation MD in Psychiatry from AIIMS in 2004 -2007. I also did a specialisation in Public Health from Sweden. I have worked with World Health Organisation in Geneva in the year 2010. I have over 14 years of practice in psychiatry. Currently, I am working as Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at Max Hospital, New Delhi. Today I will be giving you a brief overview about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which is a very common anxiety disorder. OCD represents nearly 1% of all the psychiatric illness in the community. When an individual is suffering from OCD he gets repetitive thoughts. The thoughts which he finds to be senseless and sometimes irrational.
While they keep coming he tries to stop them but he is not able to get rid of them that is the situation that the person has intense anxiety and to take care of that anxiety person commits repeated acts. The repeated thoughts are called as obsession and actions which are being done to reduce that anxiety is called compulsive act. For example, many people have repetitive thoughts of dirt and contamination and to reduce the anxiety because of those thoughts they keep washing their hands again and again. Some people have repetitive thoughts of doubts that the locks are not being closed properly and they have to check it again and again and this creates intense amount of anxiety.
Over the period of time these thoughts and actions becomes so pervasive that they take too long for routine activities to engage. For example, the person who has repeated obsessive thoughts he is not able to study, not able to do office work, not able to enjoy life and that makes things quite dysfunctional. This situation is very important to address to restore the health and well being of the individual. What happens in the brain? Biologically there is a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical which helps normally in coping stress but in case of OCD the role of serotonin is like a chemical break. It stops repetitive thoughts from coming again and again. So when the serotonin level goes down the thoughts keep coming again and again.
So this is exactly the biological basis of OCD. When we treat OCD, the treatment modalities involve medication which improves the level of serotonin and hence restore the efficiency of chemical break and the repetitive thoughts keeps going down. At the parallel side we also do psychotherapy and relaxation things which helps in reducing the anxiety. The anxiety goes down the level of serotonin in the brain again rises and hence improvement in OCD happens. Over the period of time medication can be reduced and stop while psychotherapy can continue and help people adapt to the new lifestyle with less amount of stress. With timely intervention, OCD can be managed very effectively.
The treatment is safe effective and very evidence based. It is very important that if anyone feels that they have repetitive thoughts or doubts in the head, thoughts which they don't want to have but they keep coming, again and again, I would urge them to seek a consultant. I and my team of psychologist and psychiatrist are quite efficient in treating this in the shortest possible time. We are here to help you to restore health and well being and help you enjoy the life to the fullest. I know OCD is not a life threatening illness but it takes away happiness from your life. It takes away the efficiency of your performance. It can be quiet disturbing. People have extreme anxiety is like palpitation, breathlessness, sweating which can be quite disabling for an individual. With effective and timely treatment OCD can be managed very efficiently.