Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, is long-lasting and chronic. It causes the person to have uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts, and behaviors that the diagnosed repeats over and over. Symptoms can be behavioral (i.e., compulsive behavior, hypervigilance, repetitious behavior or need for structure and routine) and emotional (i.e., anxiety, panic, depression, fear), and psychological (i.e., constant repeating of one’s thoughts). The illness centers on a person’s fear and need for order. There is a combination of co-occurring obsessions (which are intruding thoughts and preoccupations) and compulsions (which are urges one engages in to reduce anxiety and compulsive thoughts). OCD symptoms are independent among each person that is diagnosed, meaning that the experienced repetitive thoughts and acts vary from person to person.
Individuals prone to the disorder tend to be children (with 7 years old being the common age of onset), and it is especially common among males. It is not common to be diagnosed after age 35. Some studies believe in a connection between Tourette’s Syndrome and OCD. A recent study went underway that explained OCD to be a neurological disorder. A defect in the basal ganglia causes messages to not thoroughly be sent and separated. This causes tasks and thoughts to repeat, and worry to grow.
OCD can cause harm and significant distress. Sufferers may become obsessed with cleaning and expose themselves to inhaling toxins that are harmful to the body. Other forms are locking and unlocking numerous times, which may risk a bystander to emerge for a break in. There are some that use hair pulling, nail-biting or constant use of the bathroom. Although they may not seem to be forms of OCD, they can be given the criteria. Others may engage in painful behaviors to stop the obsessive thoughts.
There have been four types of OCD established: 1) checking, 2) contamination, 3) hoarding, 4) rumination.
Checking is carried out as a means to avoid harm. Anytime inside their own house or other surroundings, they’ll check the door handles, locks and candles to see if they are locked, damaged, or still set on fire.
Contamination refers to a “fear” of germs and excessive cleaning. The next is hoarding; which is holding onto old, useless objects in case of their true purpose being noticed. The last is ruminations, where a person perseverates on a topic or question that is undirected and unproductive. Although all forms may not fit under a specific category, mini ones were made afterwards to clear any confusion.
OCD treatment utilizes a combination of both medication and therapy. Individuals are first diagnosed by their daily routines, as well as any associated thoughts that occur with them. The purpose of treatment is to reduce stress without completing the task. The patient will work with the therapist to develop healthy coping mechanisms to reduce anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that has been found to be the most effective for treating OCD. This type of treatment focuses on altering and reducing distressing thoughts and obsessions, as well as changing patterns of thinking in effort to reduce stress and compulsive behaviors. Individuals may have to undergo several trial and errors of different medication type and dosages to find what works best for them. Most often, the medication is an inhibitor for serotonin. The combination of both medication and talk therapy can increase the chance of a reduction in OCD symptoms.