By Dr Ashima Ranjan Tiwari , Psychiatry
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, commonly known as OCD, is a psychological disorder. It is basically characterised by obsessive and abnormal thoughts which tend to influence several activities which become persistent over a period of time and are commonly referred to as compulsions. There have been cases where people tend to suffer from either obsessions or compulsions. Such people are also said to be affected by obsessive compulsive disorder.
What Causes OCD?
OCD is a disorder that is not yet fully understood. However, medical professionals believe there is a genetic component to this disease, as there is some research that has shown that this disorder has the tendency to run in families. This behavior can also be learned based on habits you may have developed during childhood or over a long period of time.
People With OCD: What do they feel?
People suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are not able to understand whether their thoughts are credible or not. Sometimes they might realise their obsessions are not quite reasonable, but they feel that they do not have any control over their obsessions.
Sometimes, however, people who are suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and are very much aware of it, try to stop their obsessions. Some of them even succeed. Depression and anxiety tend to have detrimental effects on the condition and people tend to indulge in compulsive behaviour just to deal with stress.
What Happens in OCD?
This particular condition revolves around several themes. Some of the patients may be obsessive about microbial infection or germ contamination. So, to reduce the obsession they tend to wash their hands compulsively. Others may obsess about proper arrangement of each and every one of their belongings and spend an illogical amount of time doing it. This leads to a continuous irrational behaviour which is a primary characteristic of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Obsessions: Obsessions are images, ideas, and thoughts that simply will not go away. While it is not uncommon for individuals to have disturbing thoughts from time to time, a person with OCD cannot escape their thoughts no matter how hard they try. These recurring thoughts are so severe that they can debilitate someone with OCD.
Compulsions: Compulsions are behaviors that individuals with obsessions display in order to relieve themselves of their anxiety. With OCD, the compulsive behavior is directly related to the excessive thought. For example, someone who counts their money every hour may have an obsessive fear someone will steal it or they will lose it.
What Are the Signs of OCD?
The symptoms of OCD include both obsessive and compulsive behaviors.
Signs of obsession include:
- Repeated unwanted ideas
- Fear of contamination
- Aggressive impulses
- Persistent sexual thoughts
- Images of hurting someone you love
- Thoughts that you might cause others harm
- Thoughts that you might be harmed
Signs of compulsion include:
- Constant checking
- Constant counting
- The repeated cleaning of one or more items
- Repeatedly washing your hands
- Constantly checking the stove or door locks
- Arranging items to face a certain way
The primary procedures which help to reduce Obsessive Compulsive Disorder include psychotherapy. Several medications like antidepressants are also known to help reduce the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A specific therapy known as exposure and response prevention which specifically aims to reduce your obsessions is used to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Several antidepressants are available widely in the market, but it is always advised to consult an expert before taking any such medications since they have various side effects and lead to further complications.