Obsessive-compulsive disorder, sometimes known as OCD, is characterized by recurrent patterns of unpleasant thoughts and anxieties known as obsessions. These obsessions drive sufferers to engage in ritualized, compulsive behaviors. These obsessive thoughts make it difficult to go about one’s regular life and create a great deal of emotional anguish. But, of course, you could try to ignore or get rid of these obsessions, making you feel worse.
In time, you feel the need to indulge in behaviors to alleviate the stress you are experiencing. But unfortunately, even when one attempts to avoid or get rid of unnecessary ideas or desires, they keep returning no matter what. This results in even more compulsive behavior, which feeds into the destructive spiral of OCD.
OCD often revolves around particular themes, such as obsessive anxiety over being contaminated by germs, as an example. You may wash your hands obsessively, even when they’re raw and cracked, because you’re worried about becoming sick. If you suffer from OCD, you can feel embarrassed and humiliated about the disorder.
There is therapy available that can help.
What factors lead to the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder?
OCD causes are unknown; however, genetics may play a role.
- If a close relative has OCD, your risk is increased.
- The syndrome may cause uneven development and cerebral dysfunction.
- Some research shows OCD is related to serotonin. Serotonin levels help regulate mood and sleep.
- Changes to one’s living situation include moving, getting married or divorcing, starting a new school or job, or moving in with someone else.
- An abusive past.
- An overactive state in some regions of the brain.
- Concerns about a very crucial emotional connection.
- If you get a cold, you may start a cycle of obsessing about germs and washing compulsively.
- Issues in one’s place of employment or education.
- Low serotonin concentrations are a natural molecule found in the brain and help keep one’s mind in check.
- Any traumatic experience.
What are the different signs and symptoms of OCD?
These intrusive thoughts are often present in those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is possible to have signs of obsession or only symptoms of compulsion. Even if you don’t know that your intrusive thoughts are too many or not logical, they still take up a lot of your time, mess up your routine, and make it hard for you to function in social situations, at school, or on the job.
Some examples of obsessive ideas include the following:
- A constant need for reassurance.
- A strong desire for cleanliness, symmetry, or perfection.
- Anxiety over making a blunder.
- Anxiety over seeming foolish in front of others.
- Disbelief or contempt for one’s abilities
- Fear of harming another person.
- Inappropriate views on sex.
- The dread of contact with fecal matter or other filth.
Some examples of compulsive ideas include the following:
- Cleaning, washing, or bathing oneself repeatedly.
- Counting or repeating a phrase or a prayer while you go about your day is.
- Doing something regularly, such as several times per day
- Eating a set of foods in a specific sequence.
- Keep an eye out to make sure you haven’t harmed anybody.
- Putting things in a particular order, like in the case of arranging your clothes in your closet,
- Repeatedly inspecting items like a lock or a stove, for example.
- The act of amassing things that are of little use to oneself or others, regardless of their monetary worth.
- The refusal to hold hands or touch items others often use, such as doorknobs.
How exactly can one identify OCD?
There is no diagnostic test for OCD. However, your physician may do a physical examination and blood testing to rule out that your symptoms are caused by anything else. They will also engage in conversation with you about your emotions, ideas, and routines:
- How much of your day is devoted to dealing with them?
- If the OCD-related ideas seem genuine to you?
- What consequences do intrusive thoughts have on relationships and everyday life?
- What methods do you use to attempt to ignore or control them?
They will also ask if you are taking any medications and if you are having any physical or mental health problems:
- Body dysmorphic disorder is when a person thinks and acts in ways that show they are obsessed with or compelled by how they look.
- A constant stream of anxiety-inducing thoughts also characterizes generalized anxiety disorder. However, many of these problems are relevant to daily life. Although they may cause you to avoid particular people or circumstances, they don’t force you to engage in obsessive behaviors.
- Hoarding disorder is characterized by an excessive accumulation of useless items and a persistent inability to get rid of them, yet the belongings in question do not cause any suffering. People with OCD may only keep or collect things if they feel compelled to complete a series or if they fear damage if they don’t.
- Those with OCD may have tic-like symptoms, such as abrupt, uncontrollable movements. Tourette’s syndrome is a prevalent tic disease for people with OCD. OCD isn’t the only illness that may cause tic symptoms; you could also have a tic condition without it.
- Trichotillomania is when a person has an uncontrollable impulse to pluck off their hair.
- Depression can cause people to keep thinking about things they don’t want to, but this doesn’t usually lead to compulsive behavior.
How can one get care for OCD?
OCD cannot be cured at this time. Fortunately, you could lessen the impact your symptoms have on your life by taking medication, engaging in therapy, or using a combination of the two.
Some treatments are as follows:
The term “psychotherapy” may also refer to CBT. You will have sessions with a therapist who will guide you through the process of analyzing and comprehending your feelings and ideas. CBT may help you stop doing bad things for yourself and, if possible, replace them with healthy ways to deal with problems throughout several sessions.
There is a possibility that medications such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants might be of assistance. This is because they raise the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Instances include clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline.
Exposure and response prevention
In EX/RP treatment, you intentionally expose yourself to situations that trigger your anxiety. After that, the healthcare practitioner will keep you from reacting to the urge. For instance, the provider may invite you to touch unclean goods but forbid you to wash your hands afterward. If CBT and medicine don’t help with OCD symptoms, a doctor may try one of the following treatments to help the patient feel better, especially if they are depressed:
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) involves affixing electrodes to the patient’s head. These cables are responsible for giving the patient electric shocks in the head. Also, the wonders cause short fits, which help the brain make chemicals that are good for you.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation
TMS makes use of a magnetic device that is applied to the scalp. The brain receives stimulation from these electric impulses. Also, the impulses cause chemicals in the brain to be released that are known to make people feel better.
In a nutshell
OCD symptoms can manifest themselves in a wide range of ways. It is also conceivable to have OCD in conjunction with other mental health diseases or events, like psychosis, anxiety, a tic condition, or postpartum OCD. This is a more severe form of the syndrome. No matter what symptoms you’re experiencing, therapy may likely assist.
Talk to your health care physician or a therapist if you find that the symptoms of your OCD make it difficult for you to manage the demands of everyday life or the relationships with the people in your life.