What is an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or (OCD) is a mental health illness, where people have repetitive, compulsive behaviors and/or obsessive thoughts. People also have a combination of both compulsive behavior and obsessive thoughts.
A lot of people have repetitive behaviors and focused thoughts, but that doesn’t have any implications on their lives. In certain situations, these types of thoughts and behaviors can make their life easy.
When you have OCD, it has a huge impact on your life, affecting your relationships, job, and schooling. An example of an obsessive thought is you have to wear your clothes in a particular manner, to avoid getting hurt. Similarly, a repetitive and compulsive behavior will be to wash your hands five times, after going outdoors. If you don’t indulge in these thoughts or behavior, it will cause significant amounts of stress.
The symptoms of OCD can start appearing when you are a child, in your adolescence, or during the early years of your adult life.
Symptoms of OCD
When you have OCD, you will either have compulsions, obsessions, or both. Here are some of the symptoms of OCD:
Obsessions are repetitive mental thoughts, urges, or images, which cause a lot of anxiety. Some of the common symptoms of obsession are as follows:
- Fear of getting dirty or contamination by germs
- Forbidden religious or sexual thoughts
- Keep worrying that you or other people will get hurt
Compulsions are recurring behaviors, which are the result of obsessive thoughts. Here are some of the symptoms
- Extreme hand washing or cleaning
- Necessity to count things such as bottles and steps
- Place things perfectly or symmetrically
Although you may experience these symptoms, you should keep in mind that there is a significant difference between OCD and normal behavior. For instance, when you have OCD, you have no control over these behaviors or thoughts. You will spend a minimum of an hour every day, indulging in these thoughts and behaviors.
Sometimes, you may also experience tic disorder, which consists of repetitive, short, and sudden movements, such as blinking your eyes. The symptoms of this mental health disorder may reduce over time, or there may be an increase in intensity.
In most cases, the medical practitioner will treat OCD with psychotherapy, medication, or combine the two. If you have to take medications, the medical practitioner will prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs), which decrease the severity of the symptoms.
After taking these medications, it will take a minimum of eight weeks, before you start noticing any improvement. Also, when you are taking medications for OCD, never stop consuming them out of the blue, without informing your doctor. If you don’t get the medications, the symptoms of OCD will start becoming worse, which is quite uncomfortable. You may also experience withdrawal effects, which are unpleasant.
The second type of treatment is psychotherapy, which is effective in helping children and adults manage OCD. Habit reversal training and cognitive behavior therapy, are the two most common types of psychotherapy, which have high rates of success. In certain cases, these types of psychotherapy have the same effect as medications.
If you observe that you are experiencing the symptoms of OCD, you should seek help. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed, as it is a condition which affects your mental health. The doctor will conduct a blood test along with a physical examination, to determine whether there are other factors which affect your compulsions and obsessions. Also, the doctor will ask you about your habits, thoughts, and feelings, to get a better idea about the situations. With treatment, you can manage the symptoms of OCD, allowing you to live your life!