Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is one of the common mental health disorders of today. In fact about 3.3 million of adult Americans are afflicted by this.
But what is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder all about? Does an individual’s way of life changed when troubled by this?
The answer is a big YES! Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) if already severe may really affect a person’s well being and day-to-day life.
It is an anxiety disorder caused by anxious unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repeated rituals (compulsions) you can not control.
It is a serious kind of disorder that may distress your schoolwork, employment, or personal and social relationships if not treated immediately.
It’s Possible Causes
A certain research shows that OCD mostly likely appears to people aging 15 years old and a second peak of incidence occurs during the third decade of life. Its severity varies to many patients, but if once acquired, OCD may appear throughout life.
However, at present, the exact cause of OCD is still unknown to everyone. Some medical researchers suggest that OCD may be inherited. Chemical imbalance in the brain is also said to be a possible cause.
Having shortage of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter in a person’s brain and so many obsessions at the same time can also cause OCD. Stress has also been linked to OCD. Some people say that when a person’s life is consumed by stress, they are more likely to develop this disorder.
What are the symptoms?
Having inappropriate recurring, persisting thoughts, impulses or images into your mind more often actually leads to obsessions. In order to overcome these obsessions, a person with OCD tends to do repeated rituals or actions which are called compulsions.
Marked distress and anxiety are the often the primary symptoms of OCD. Behaviors done often such as securing the oven hand washing, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive or unwelcome thoughts and making them go away.
Some other behaviors or compulsions are:
- Repetitious mental activity, such as counting or praying.
- Repeated checking of doors, locks, electrical appliances, or light switches.
- Strict attempts to keep things in careful order.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder has no exact cure. However, there are several types of treatments for OCD.
- Psychotherapy and Counseling
Research shows that we now have improved therapies that can help most people with OCD and other anxiety disorders. Thus, leading them to more productive fulfilling lives. Response prevention therapy keeps the person from acting on his/her obsessions and compulsions. Counseling a person with OCD regarding his obsessions can make him understand later on that it is only more on of a state of mind.
- Electroconvulsive Therapy
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is sometimes helpful in individuals with severe primary depression and secondary obsessions. It is also known as electroshock. It is most often used as a treatment for severe major depression which has not responded to other treatment.
At present, wide variety of medication is available to treat OCD. Luvox (fluvoxamine), Anafranil (clomipramine), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Paxil (paroxetine), are the sample drug medications. These medications can help lessen obsessive thinking and the consequent compulsive behaviors.