What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? 

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In this blog, we will cover what is obsessive-compulsive disorder, the symptoms of OCD, the causes of OCD, the treatment of OCD, and also answer frequently asked questions. 

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What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a psychological condition in which a person experiences obsessive thoughts and they engage in performing certain compulsive behaviors that help them get some immediate relief from the intrusive/obsessive thoughts that can cause them a lot of anxiousness and discomfort. 

Let us understand OCD in detail in the further sections. 

All you Need to know about OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is defined as the occurrence of intrusive thoughts and anxieties (obsessions) that cause you to engage in repetitive actions (compulsions). Obsessions and compulsions create severe suffering and interfere with daily tasks.

You can try to forget or eliminate your obsessions, but this will only make you feel worse. Finally, you feel compelled to engage in obsessive behaviors in order to relieve your tension. Despite attempts to ignore or eliminate troublesome thoughts or desires, they persist. This feeds into the OCD’s vicious circle of ritualistic activity.

OCD is frequently centered on certain themes, such as an overwhelming fear of being contaminated by germs. You can wash your hands till they’re painful and chapped to alleviate your contamination anxieties.

Symptoms of OCD

Obsessions and compulsions are common in obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, just obsessive symptoms or simply compulsion symptoms are also a form of OCD. 

You may or may not recognize that your obsessive thoughts are excessive or unjustified, yet they consume a significant amount of time and disrupt your daily routine, as well as your social, school, and professional functions.

Symptoms of Obsession

Obsessions with OCD are pervasive, recurring, and unwelcome thoughts, impulses, or visions that create anguish or worry. 

You may try ignoring them or executing a compulsive activity or routine to get rid of them. Obsessions usually pop up when you’re attempting to consider or accomplish anything else.

Obsessions can be related to the following:

  • Exposure or dirt/germs phobia
  • Disputing oneself and finding it difficult to accept ambiguity
  • Wanting things to be symmetrical and tidy
  • Feelings of relinquishing power and injuring yourself or others that are hostile or horrifying
  • Unwanted ideas, such as violence, as well as sexual or religious topics

The following are some examples of obsessive indications and symptoms:

  • Fear of becoming infected by touching items that have been handled by others
  • Worrying/checking to see whether you’ve secured the door or turned off the stove
  • When things aren’t in order or facing the right way, it causes a lot of tension
  • Driving your automobile into a throng of people is an image that comes to mind
  • Uncomfortable sexual imagery 
  • Thoughts like yelling curses or acting improperly in public
  • Avoid circumstances that may cause discomfort, such as handshakes due to a fear of contraction of germs

Compulsion Symptoms

Compulsions are recurrent activities that you feel compelled to do because you have OCD. These habitual activities or mental acts are intended to alleviate anxiety caused by your obsessions or to avoid anything awful from occurring. Compulsions, on the other hand, provide no enjoyment and may only provide momentary relief from tension.

When you’re experiencing obsessive thoughts, you might set up rules or routines to assist you to regulate your anxiety. These compulsions are extreme, and they’re often unrelated to the condition they’re supposed to solve.

Compulsions, like obsessions, usually have a theme, such as:

  • Washing and sanitizing
  • Checking
  • Counting
  • Sticking to a rigorous schedule
  • Requiring assurance

The following are some examples of compulsive signs and symptoms:

  • Hand-washing frequently turns skin dry, red, and irritated
  • Inspecting doors to make sure they’re latched on a regular basis
  • Monitoring the stove to make sure it’s turned off on a regular basis
  • Counting in particular patterns is a fun way to pass the time.
  • Reiterating a prayer, statement, or phrase quietly
  • Organize your tinned food so that they all face the same direction.

OCD and its severity

OCD generally develops in adolescence or early adulthood, although it can sometimes begin in childhood. Symptoms normally appear gradually and progress in intensity over time. Obsessions and compulsions can evolve over time, as can the sorts of obsessions and compulsions people have. 

When you’re under a lot of stress, your symptoms usually get worse. OCD, which is commonly seen as a lifelong condition, can manifest itself in mild to moderate symptoms can be so intense and time-consuming that becomes incapacitating.

Causes of OCD

The exact etiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder is unknown. The following are some of the most popular theories:

Biology

Alteration in your body’s natural chemistry or brain functioning might cause OCD.

Genetics 

Although OCD may well have a hereditary component, no particular genes have been discovered.

Learning

Obsessive phobias and obsessive habits can be learned through observation of family members or through time.

History of the family 

Having OCD-affected parents or other relatives increases your chances of having the illness.

Life experiences 

Experiences of life are of various types but if they are stressful, you are more likely to suffer from OCD. This reaction might, for whatever reason, set off OCD’s irrational thoughts, habits, and emotional anguish.

Other types of mental illnesses

Various mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, depression, substance misuse, or tic disorders, may be linked to OCD.

Living with OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can cause a variety of issues, including:

  • Substantial time spent on ritualistic activities
  • Contact rashes from regular hand washing is one example of a health problem.
  • Attending job, school, or social events with difficulty
  • Relationships that are in trouble
  • Overall, the quality of living is terrible.
  • Suicidal ideas and actions.

Diagnosis of OCD

The following steps may be taken to aid in the diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder:

Psychological assessment

 This includes talking about your feelings, illnesses, and behavior patterns to see whether you have any obsessive or compulsive habits that are affecting your life quality. This may entail speaking with your friends or family with your consent.

OCD diagnostic criteria

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) may be used by your doctor.

Examination of the body. This might be performed to rule out any other issues that could be affecting your symptoms, as well as to look for any potential repercussions.

Treatment of OCD

Treatment for the obsessive-compulsive disorder may not lead to a solution, but it can help you manage your difficulties so they don’t take over your life. Some patients may require long-term, continuous, or more rigorous therapy based on the intensity of their OCD.

Therapy and medications are the two most common forms of treatment for OCD. Treatment is often most successful when a mix of these approaches is used.

Psychotherapy

Many patients with OCD benefit from cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT), a kind of psychotherapy. A component of CBT treatment called exposure and response prevention (ERP) includes progressively introducing you to a dreaded item or preoccupation, such as filth, and teaching you how to avoid the temptation to do your obsessive rituals. 

ERP takes time and practice, but if you start to handle your obsessions and compulsions, you may find that you have a higher quality of life.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Medications

Certain psychiatric drugs can aid in the management of OCD’s obsessions and compulsions. Antidepressants are frequently used initially.

The following antidepressants have been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of OCD:

  • Adults and children’s clomipramine (Anafranil) 10 years old and up
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) is a drug that is used to treat depression in both adults and children. 7 years old and up
  • Fluvoxamine is a drug that is used to treat both adults and children. 8 years old and up
  • Only adults should take paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva).
  • Sertraline (Zoloft) is a prescription medication for adults and children aged 6 and above.

Types of treatment facilities for OCD

Private counseling and psychotherapy

Patients meet a psychotherapist for private counseling as frequently as their therapist recommends, which is usually once or twice a week for 45-50 minutes. (This form of therapy is provided by most counselors in the Resource Directory, as well as “Specialty Outpatient Clinics.”)

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

Patients may visit groups and one individual session each day, multiple times per week. This level of care is available at clinics listed in the Resource Directory as “Intensive Treatment Programs.”

Day Program

Patients attend treatment at a mental health treatment center during the day (usually group and individual therapy) up to five days a week. This level of care is available at several clinics listed in the Resource Directory as “Intensive Treatment Programs.”

Partial Hospitalization

Similar to the Day Program, except individuals are admitted to a mental health facility for treatment. This level of care is available at many clinics listed in the Resource Directory as “Intensive Treatment Programs.”

Patients are treated in an unsecured mental health care facility or hospital while living there willingly. This level of care is available at clinics listed in the Resource Directory as “Residential.”

Inpatient

This is the most advanced stage of mental health treatment. Healthcare is given on a voluntary or involuntary basis in a barricaded unit in a mental health hospital. 

If a patient becomes unable to assume responsibility for themselves or is a threat to themselves or others, they will be admitted to this level of care. Inpatient treatment aims to stabilize the patient for a few days to a week before transitioning them to a lesser level of care.

Conclusion

We explored what is OCD, the symptoms of OCD, different causes of OCD, what are the issues faced by someone who has OCD, various lines of treatment for OCD, and also different facilities of treatment for OCD. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? 

What are the 4 types of OCD?

Types of OCD

  • Checking.
  • Contamination / Mental Contamination.
  • Symmetry and ordering.
  • Ruminations / Intrusive Thoughts.
  • Hoarding.

What causes an OCD compulsion?

Triggers are unique to each person, just as OCD is. Thoughts, objects, and sensations are just a few examples of things that might be triggering to someone. Stress, trauma, and life changes may all exacerbate triggers, causing them to shift or worsen over time.

Is OCD an anxiety disorder?

OCD is an anxiety condition marked by recurring, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive activities (compulsions).

Is OCD reversible?

Symptoms of the obsessive-compulsive disorder tend to wax and wane over time. As a result, many people who have been diagnosed with OCD may believe that their symptoms come and go or even go away—only to return.

Is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) a kind of autism?

Autism and OCD seem to have nothing in common at first look. Nonetheless, physicians and academics have discovered a link between the two. According to studies, up to 84 percent of autistic persons suffer from anxiety, with up to 17 percent of those suffering from OCD.

What foods can aid in the treatment of OCD?

Nuts and seeds are high in beneficial nutrients. Protein-rich foods such as eggs, beans, and meat provide a steady supply of energy, allowing you to maintain a healthier balance. Complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, aid to maintain a constant blood sugar level.

References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20354432
https://www.pchtreatment.com/can-ocd-go-away/
https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-tips-living-with-ocd

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