Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Overview

Mental health disorders are occurring these days in people at a much faster rate than they were before. Day by day the number of patients who are suffering from mental health disorders are increasing whether it is a man or a woman mental health has strongly effected both genders. And the worst thing about these disorders are that most cases occur due to the usual stress in lives of people. Sure a little stress hits us all in some ways but constant worrying leads to an unstable state of mind that can prove to be dangerous to a person's health. Among these mental health issues a major one that is striking more commonly these days is Obsessive Compulsive disorder. The disorder is characterized by repetition in thoughts to a point where a person becomes totally obsessed with what he or she is thinking about. The person who is suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder might become really intrusive or annoyed by anything in front of them and distressing thoughts are commonly observed too. There is also an urge to do certain tasks and this can be associated to both physical tasks and mental tasks. The person suffering from this disorder finds an urge to complete certain chores that are based on their daily routine. This might include washing, cleaning and checking if the things that are done are done perfectly or not and repetition might also occur. It is now said that the disorder is more common in people these days but many don't show because of the feeling of embarrassment. This proves how much these mental health disorders holds our society. Though treatment exist in the form of medication and sessions but that too requires time and many people are burdened by their inner fears and that's why they don't get help.

Statistics

Statistics have provided some insight about how many people suffer from OCD. Sure its not accurate but it helps getting some clue about the condition. The data collected by American Psychiatric Association suggests that females are more likely to become a victim to OCD than men and that this disorder affects people from all cultures irrespective of where they actually originate from and that is why it is considered to be a global disorder.

A report from World Health Organization also reveals that OCD is one of the top 20 causes behind illness that results in disability in people aged between 15 to 44 years. Another report suggest that OCD is also known to be 4th most commonly occurring mental health disorder. Some other mental health disorders that come on par with OCD are phobia and depression. Substance abuse is commonly occurring too and leads to more mental health complication.

So what exactly is OCD?

As mentioned earlier Obsessive compulsive disorder focuses on thoughts to a point they become obsessive or repetitive. It is also certain urges that require attaining perfection in the work done and constantly doing it to achieve the goal. This includes household chores like cleaning, washing. But it doesn't stop there as the work includes literally everything a person do so the person suffering from it requires a constant need to check and to repeat the work again. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is known to be associated with a series of dysfunctional or impairment of the brain activity and lays a very harmful effect on a person's social life and their working life.

Types of OCD

OCD itself comes in many types and different people experience different symptoms. These signs or types are discussed as follows.

Contamination

The sign of contamination happens when a person feel a constant urge to clean things up. The person feels like that the thing which they are going to touch will be contaminated after contact with it is made. The idea behind it would be that either the person or the object would become either dirty or sick if not cleaned for longer periods of time.

This habit is certainly not limited to things as self hygiene plays a greater role in this. The person suffering from this type of OCD would take long time to brush their teeth. Excessive cleaning of the house might also result in and the person might also quit their social circles so as to be safe from the contamination they think people would spread. In this disorder the obsession is always linked to the other person and sometimes might be targeted on self hygiene too.

Hoarding

The idea of keeping things even if they are of no use comes under the category of Hoarding. The person suffering from this type will keep things in their possession and would not let go of them even if they are of no use to them.

Constant Checking

The need to continuously keep things under check comes under this category. A person is obsessed with the feeling of something might go wrong and stays paranoid for longer periods of time. Whether its be car, door, alarms and other appliances. But this act of being paranoid is not the only feeling a person gets. Sometimes a person finds an urge to check up on people. Checking up on people goes on to many hours to make sure they are doing okay. This type of OCD also involves constant recheck on emails so as to find the mistake they made which can upset the other person. In reality there might not be any mistakes but the person finds a constant urge to check on.

Obsessed Rumination

Rumination forces a person to stay in a place of mind where they are constantly contemplating about the philosophical questions. Whether they are religious or question the existence. The person keep thinking about these questions which never really come to a conclusion. This type of OCD also keeps a person detached from this world and forces them to stay in their own world. Though they don't completely detach from this world but they spend most of their time contemplating about the questions.

Obsessed Intrusive thoughts

Intrusive thoughts can be a combined feeling of being obsessed to a person yet constantly being preoccupied of the thought of hurting them. Those who suffer from this type of OCD usually think that they might turn out to be killers or might hurt someone. These thoughts aren't created with choices and thus are responsible for distress among the patients of OCD. The patient also might become obsessed with things and thoughts that holds no basis with the reality or are superstitious. Due to the distress caused in these patients people might be less likely to implement on these thoughts. But getting a medical help is a right thing to do in these scenarios.

Addicted to symmetry

Order and symmetry are essential to live a good life. But for a person with OCD it might prove to be the worst. The person who suffers from this type finds a constant urge to keep things in line. And if they aren't organized the way they want them to be this might prove to be a source of discomfort and person is likely to become irritated to a point where they might just be aggressive. The person who is suffering from this type generally keeps everything in line and also keeps correcting the line. It doesn't persist an the person may look like normal with a little touch of being a bit organized but in reality are really preoccupied with this condition.

Though these aren't the only types and the list actually goes on but the most commonly occurring ones are these.

Symptoms of OCD

OCD differs from other mental health disorders in such a way that it is usually a combination of obsessions or compulsions. Though they don't really cause a person to become completely detached from the world but they do consume a larger portion of a patient's time as it interferes with the normal functioning.

There are chances that children might start suffering from Obsessive compulsive disorder from a very young age and these symptoms will worsen up as the time goes on. The symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder might vary from being mild to being severe. OCD doesn't necessarily means that a person will experience both obsession and compulsive drive and a person might just experience obsessive thoughts without becoming compulsive or show signs of being compulsive.

As mentioned earlier the number of people actually suffering from this disorder are huge but many choose to struggle with it as they are afraid of showing it. Family and friends might spot the change in behavior and other than that people get along with their social circles easily. But this is only limited to the mild cases of the disorder. In severe cases even if the patient is trying not to show the disorder they might experience episodes that will make people fully aware of their condition. It is advised to the people suffering from the mild form of this disorder to seek help so as to limit it down.

Kind of Obsessions people experience

Obsessions aren't just associated with the people who are suffering from OCD they are problematic for a healthy person as well as these thoughts are related to everyday stresses and are always on a person's mind. But for the person who is experiencing OCD these thoughts can be different. They are bounded to think excessively and to get rid of these thoughts they engage in actions that are the product of these thoughts. So the productivity to suppress these thoughts are basically done to relieve them from anxiety. Sure the work of everyday life is not related as they are mandatory but once these people engage in a work that is already done it can be said that they are trying to relieve themselves. So a person who is suffering from OCD typically show signs like:

  • They experience repetition in every thought that comes in their mind. Whether these are random thoughts or images the person is not able to maneuver or control these thoughts.
  • Now you might be thinking maybe a person is not aware of the condition they are in but this isn't how OCD works. A person is fully aware of their thoughts and are actually trying to control it.
  • People suffering from OCD don't find these thoughts and ideas good enough and to some of them they don't even make sense especially in the case of children.
  • A person suffering from OCD might be irritated by everything. These people also seek perfection in nearly everything and that is why they keep engaging in the usual chores.
  • They might also experience feelings of being angry or being afraid. Self doubt is commonly observed too.
  • A person as mentioned earlier might become detached from the outer world. They don't completely isolate themselves but are usually indulged in the same chore trying to achieve perfection in it which consumes most of their time. This sometimes result in complete detachment from the social circles and also effects their work lives. Personal lives too are damaged due to a person suffering from OCD.
  • Person is irritated by the thought of everything being contaminated and spends time cleaning it.
  • A person might become aggressive too as the obsessive thoughts leads to more thoughts where they think their presence would result in violence.
  • Perfection as mentioned earlier is a major concern for these patients and the thought of not forgetting anything is observed too.
  • Unwanted sexual thoughts which might result in more embarrassment due to which these people chose to hide their condition.
  • A person might also become obsessed with religion as they keep questioning and contemplating about the origin of universe and God. A person might also continuously think of offending God.
  • Person might act like they are afraid of a certain situation as they are scared of loosing a loved one. Constant paranoia is commonly observed among these people.

Compulsions in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Before we went on to describing what compulsion is it should be noted that every activity or behavior that has a repetition in it is not a sign of compulsion. The repetitive acts that are totally normal are practices that involve religion. Learning skills, eating food and the usual chores are not classified under acts that are compulsive. Also if a person works In a factory which requires him to pack things up for 8 hours straight is also not classified under compulsive behavior. Behavior needs proper specification as every routine that requires repetition cannot be classified as a behavior that is compulsive. There are some examples of compulsive behavior that are as follows:

  • Washing hands when prolonged is classified as compulsive behavior. This is done when a person think that they have been exposed to contamination.
  • Continuously checking someone or oneself to see if something terrible has happened. Constant paranoia.
  • Repetition also include repeating chores that are of no importance like rereading same lines from a specific book.
  • Mental compulsions exist too. These include constant praying to avoid tragic incidents and sometimes thinking about the past memories.

Causes of OCD

There's been spent a whole lot of money to identify the major cause of the OCD and so far there is no success but there are clues.

It is suggested that OCD somehow has neurological ties. Neuro-imaging studies reveal that people who are suffering from this disorder are likely to have a brain that is functioning differently to that of the brain of a normal person. The root cause isn't identified yet but it is said that people suffering from OCD might be facing some disruption with the neurotransmitters. The disorder is common in both males and females but more cases are observed in females but this factor is seen in adults. While in children the cases of OCD if occur are more likely to happen in boys than girls. It is said that there are some factors behind the occurrence of OCD. Those factors might be environmental or behavioral. Genetic and cognitive factors are also said to be involved in OCD. In some children the certain infections can result in disrupted function of basal ganglia. These cases are specifically caught up in children and are labeled as pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder.

Genetic Causes and OCD

OCD is known to run through bloodlines thus can be classified as a genetic disorder. The disease usually is seen to occur in people who have relatives that are suffering from OCD. Studies also suggest that OCD is likely to be inherited. The genetic factors that are involved in this contribute to be almost 25 to 50 percent. Even though all of these studies that have been made so far should logically prove the root cause of OCD but still there has been no luck on this page so far and there has not been a single gene that can be labeled to be a cause of OCD.

Behavioral causes of OCD

The assumption that ties knots of OCD and somehow relate it behavior suggest that people who are suffering from this condition might relate some situations as risky and might be scared of them. This result in a behavior that constantly forces them to avoid doing it so as to lower down the fear. This period of avoidance can start at any time or any occasion whether it is a job or a loss of certain loved one. A trauma too can prove to cause this behavioral change. People who have important relationships with certain someone if ended might also start experiencing these episodes. Once this fear strikes these people rather than confrontation they totally avoid it.

Cognitive causes that are linked to OCD

The theory explained above sheds a light on how people who suffer from this disorder can relate to an object and can associate it with fear. But cognitive theories suggest that OCD patients might just aren't able to decipher their own thoughts properly and creates a misconception. Mostly people experience thoughts that are intrusive but in the case of OCD the very thought of these thoughts occurring might just be exaggerated. For example if you are handling something with extreme care because of its delicacy and you have a constant fear of breaking it. This kind of behavior is not classified to be a part of OCD. Now these thoughts occur in many people but the people who suffer from OCD don't actually let it go and don't process it but rather look down it as a threat. So the theory suggest that as long as these thoughts are taken as a threat the behavior of ignorance and being fearful will last.

Diagnosis

Identify both compulsive and Obsessive behavior. OCD never develops due to substance abuse or to be specific by using drugs. Obsessions and Compulsions are usually time consuming so if these signs are observed in a person than a diagnosis for OCD can be made. Depression and anxiety might display similar features and are known to occur with the OCD.

Treatment Of OCD

When mild one should go and see a doctor because if it is left untreated it can develop into a chronic disorder. If left untreated in chronic scenario the symptoms might improve but if it occurred in a child than seeing a doctor by the time he or she is an adult sometimes become necessary. The treatment for this disorder are as follows:

  • Cognitive therapy this includes a person doing sessions with a doctor. Researches have revealed that the disorder can be treated when in cognitive sessions. The sessions can be divided into exposure and response. In exposure a thing that fears this certain person is shown. While in response daily routines that a person engages in are observed.

Other therapies include:

  • Medication which include taking of SSRIs

Conclusion

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It should be noted that a doctor should be consulted when experiencing these signs so as to lower down the signs of it becoming more problematic.

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