Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

For those who have this disorder, they have obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour. This condition is a very common type of anxiety disorder which involves repetitive and distressing thoughts that automatically come into their minds. They cannot seem to resist such thoughts even if they are irrational. Some experts say that rejecting these thoughts could only make matters worse. Because of this, it makes it hard for the patient to communicate with others about his feelings and thoughts. Talk therapy and self-help treatment are used to treat the disorder.

Compulsions make people feel as if they need to repeat anything they do or say to reduce their stress or anxiety or their obsessive thoughts. Example of this is when a person thinks about diseases and germs non-stop. To reduce their worries about these things, they begin to wash their hands repeatedly. Other compulsive actions can have no relation to the nature of their obsessive thoughts. Some of the most common obsessions are the fear and need for the following:

  • contamination
  • of harming someone else
  • of making mistakes
  • of behaving inappropriately
  • for exactness or symmetry 

Compulsions involve cleaning, checking, dressing or counting rituals. To carry out an action of compulsion gives them temporary relief from anxiety. At other times, they feel doubtful that they have done wrong about their compulsive rituals so they tend to repeat them again and again.

Every one of us has worries, superstitious beliefs and doubts. But you may want to seek for medical help when your behaviour and thoughts no longer make sense to others. The symptoms for OCD can appear at any time of your life. Once you have OCD, you will also feel depressed and anxious and believe that you are alone in having the obsessive thoughts. It takes ten to fifteen years before someone asks for help. These people are aware of their compulsive behaviour but they might try to hide them. Some of them feel that they do not have enough will power to stop their compulsive actions and thoughts.

Causes of OCD

A number of theories have been suggested to explain how OCD develops. Most experts say that it depends heavily on the person’s past experiences especially during their childhood. Personality types are also crucial. For example, perfectionists are prone to having OCD. This condition has been related to an increase in the activity of certain areas in the brain. Some scientists say that low levels of serotonin can be at fault but others do not agree. Distress does not develop into OCD but stressful and traumatic events like giving birth or losing someone you love can be factors.

Treatments of OCD

A lot of ways can be done to treat and manage this condition. The first thing to do when getting help is to completely explain your situation to your doctor, including your symptoms and your feelings. The doctor could refer you to a specialist if needed. Talk therapy is an effective way of treating this condition, also taking in medications, counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy and psychotherapy.

How friends and family could help

If someone you know has this condition, you may feel confused or frustrated of the symptoms. But you can do a lot to help them. One thing is to accept their feelings and understand why have a hard time coping up. Bad criticisms and comments makes an OCD worse but supportive and calm comment from their friends and family can help them in their treatment. There are self-help groups that give help and encouragement. If young people have been diagnosed with OCD, the parents should inform their teachers to make sure they understand the problem.