OCD stand for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It is a type of mental ailment. Generally, this condition is observed in those who are in the adolescent age range or reached adulthood. People experience obsessive thoughts and compulsions during such condition. OCD patients ritualistically perform certain actions as a routine or have certain thoughts that they harbor repeatedly. Some of the most common activities that OCD people often do is like counting things, repeated hand washing or see if the doors and windows are locked.
Some of the OCD patients all find difficult to throw unnecessary or old junks off. These activities happen to such a degree that most often they tend to jeopardize their normal life and their daily life gets negatively affected. Though most adult OCD patients realize that their strange behavior doesn’t make sense, but still they just can’t stop.
Compulsive checking, contamination or mental contamination, symmetry and order and Hoarding are different types of obsessive-compulsive disorder. In Checking type disorder, the patient always has a need for checking cars, water taps, gas or electric stove cobs, house lights and candles, emails and letters, etc for reassurance. This can sometimes damage that particular object.
Another type of observational worry is observed in mental contamination where a patient has thought of contamination. Due to this, the patient can harm themselves or their loved ones. In symmetry and order, a patient will always try to keep everything perfect and symmetrical. In hoarding OCD, people avoid discarding useless things and worn-out possessions.
As per medical experts, OCD affects about 2.3% of people around the globe, at some point in their lives. Generally, the symptoms start after the age of 35, although there are many who even develop OCD symptoms even before 20. Males and females are equally affected by this disorder.
It is described as an anxiety disorder in which signs like:
There are primarily four ways to know if a patient has obsessive-compulsive disorder These are physical examination, lab tests, psychological evaluation, and diagnostic criteria for OCD. During physical examination, a doctor will discuss the feelings, thoughts, and habits of the patient. There may be chances of bloodstream collection for tests of complete blood count, the functioning of thyroid, and screening of alcohol and substance abuse.
DSM-5 or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, issued by the American Psychiatric Association can be used for the diagnosis of OCD.
Biological causes such as genetics, brain structure and surrounding environment are considered as basic causes behind this condition, however, there is further need for research in this area. It has been studied that if a parent has OCD, it puts their child at a higher risk of developing this condition.
Any stressful or shocking events can also cause OCD as these situations can trigger thoughts, feelings, etc. Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infection (PANDAS) is considered as an environmental factor that causes OCD in which strep infection occurs.
Obsessive compulsion disorder has no complete cure but there are some treatments that help in controlling its symptoms. There are behavioral therapies and talk therapy given by trained therapists for this condition. Videoconferencing Therapy or teletherapy Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Exposure and Response Prevention therapy along with prescribed medication are used to deal with OCD.
Medications are helpful in controlling the unwanted obsession thoughts and compulsions. However, before prescribing any medications, complete information should be gathered on the stage of OCD. Food and Drug Administration has approved some antidepressants and psychiatric medications for treating OCD such as Clomipramine, Fluoxetine, Fluvoxamine, Paroxetine, and Sertraline.
Before prescribing any of these medications, the doctor should discuss issues like side effects, suicide risk and interactions with other substances. Even though all medications are safe but there may be a chance of negative outcomes too. According to FDA, the antidepressants are given to mental illness patients but it always carries a black box warning with it.
There is no proper treatment for this condition but its signs and symptoms can be controlled. There is also no early prevention for Obsessive Compulsion Disorder. If any patient is suffering from OCD, identifying it early can help in preventing it.
Natural remedies are safe and do not any serious side effects. They can be considered as a complementary treatment for OCD. Sr. John’s Wort, Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum), foods reach in iron, magnesium, and zinc like mineral, a supplement of N-Acetylcysteine, psychobiotics, saffron, Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) are remedies used for managing symptoms of OCD.
Musical therapy, mediation, aerobic exercises, some forms of light therapy, acupuncture are also recommended for obsessive compulsion disorder.
It may seem to be a wise decision to avoid your obsessive thoughts, but in reality, the more you do so, the scarier you shall feel. So, it’s best to expose yourself to your OCD triggers and then try to delay or resist the urge to complete your relief-seeking OCD ritual. If resistance on your part gets too hard, try to lessen the amount of time you spend on doing them.
When you are experiencing your OCD urges and thoughts, try to shift your attention to something else instead. A person can go for a walk, do exercise, surf the web, make a phone call, play video games and others. The important thing is, whatever that you do, enjoy doing something for at least 20 minutes, in order to delay your responses to the compulsive thoughts.
By anticipating your obsessive and compulsive urges, even before they arise, you can help yourself to get rid of your OCD. Whatever the compulsive thoughts be, pay extra attention to it the very first time. When the urge to do or check arises later, a person shall find it easier to re-label the thought as an obsessive disorder.