Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Facts, Signs, and Treatments
By An Annonymous Follower
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (also known as OCD) is a chronic mental illness where people have either obsessive thoughts (obsessions) or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). In simple terms, these people have recurring thoughts and behavior.
An obsessive-compulsive disorder isn’t just about sucking your fingers every day. It’s much more than that. An example of obsessive thought: you like to keep clothes in a particular order every morning. If someone doesn’t keep your clothes in that order, you feel that something bad will happen.
An example of compulsive behavior: When you take a bath, you wash your feet several times. Or, you wash your feet 10 times after touching something that is dirty. Sometimes, you feel that these habits are not good. You shouldn’t do this. But somehow, you can’t stop yourself from doing these things.
Signs and symptoms of OCD
There are various signs and symptoms of the obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some of the signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder are given below:
- Repetitive thoughts that your spouse is cheating you
- Fear of getting hurt or getting dirty
- The belief that some colors or numbers bring good fortune or bad fortune
- Forbidden thoughts about religion and sex
- The habit of keeping items in a specific order
- The habit of counting steps or bottles or some other things
- Washing hands and feet several times in a day
- Checking if the doors are properly locked several times before leaving home
- Chanting a particular phrase or word several times silently
Nature of people having OCD
People with OCD don’t derive pleasure from their obsessive thoughts or compulsive behavior. It’s just that they can’t control their thoughts or habits. Sometimes, they realize that others get affected due to their rituals. Still, they can’t stop them. They get a slight relief from anxiety while performing the rituals for at least 1 hour every day. That’s it.
What causes OCD?
Doctors don’t have an answer to this question. The general consensus is that some areas in the brain may not be normal in the people with OCD. But research shows that OCD is more common in females than males. Some symptoms may start appearing in the adolescence period and stress can aggravate this mental disorder a lot.
Heredity can be a cause of OCD. But then again, this can’t be said for certain. People are more likely to develop this disorder when they have:
(iii) Family members with OCD
(iv) Been sexually abused in their childhood
Treatments for OCD – Any hope?
OCD can’t be permanently cured. It’s a fact we all have to accept. But with medicines and psychotherapy, symptoms can be controlled. People with OCD may have to take medicines throughout their life to keep themselves and others happy.
The biggest problem is that many people with OCD don’t want to consult a therapist or a psychiatrist. Social stigma is still an unfortunate reality in our country, and that stops people from seeking medical help. They feel embarrassed and ashamed.
If you know someone who has OCD symptoms, then take him or her to a general physician first. Write all the symptoms on a paper and give it to the doctor. He can refer the patient to a psychiatrist or a therapist. If family members are deeply affected due to the OCD symptoms, then you can take the patient directly to a good mental clinic in your locality.
OCD symptoms are unlikely to fade away without proper medical treatment or help. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication can help to reduce the impact of OCD. Usually, CBT gives effective results but that may take some months. But most people will benefit eventually.
Some people may need only CBT whereas others may need only medication. Then again, some people may need the help of both CBT and medication to recover from this disorder. It completely depends on the intensity of the disorder. A good psychiatrist is the best person to determine that.
Many people with OCD know that their habits are not good. Unfortunately, they can’t quit them in spite of their best efforts. If you have the aforementioned symptoms, then visit a mental clinic in your locality and consult a psychiatrist. He can help you overcome this disorder through medications and alternative treatments.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.