Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments!

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments of this mental anomaly that affects thousands of people. Furthermore, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental abnormality that is characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce unease, anxiety , apprehension, fear, and worry (obsessions). For many years, mental health professionals saw Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as a rare disease , given that a small minority of their patients had this condition.

The disorder was often not recognized because many victims of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder  (OCD), in an attempt to keep the repetitiveness of their thoughts and behaviors a secret, avoided seeking therapeutic help. This led researchers to underestimate the number of people who suffered from the disease .

However, a survey conducted in the early 1980s by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – a US federal agency that sponsors research on topics related to the brain, mental illness and mental health worldwide – provided new insight into the prevalence of the disorder . Obsessive Compulsive ( OCD).

NIMH research has shown that the disorder affects more than 2% of the population, which means that OCD is much more common than other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or panic disorder. OCD affects people of all ethnic groups. Men and women are equally affected. The social and financial costs of OCD were estimated at $8.4 billion in 1990.

Causes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Doctors are still not able to fully understand what lies behind obsessive-compulsive disorder, but the main theories surrounding the causes of the condition concern three factors: biology, genetics, and the environment. environment. Some researchers believe that OCD may be the result of changes in the person’s body or brain. Other studies point the disorder to a genetic predisposition – although the genes that would be eventually involved have not been identified so far.

Environmental factors such as infections also appear to be involved. Additional research, however, still needs to be carried out to corroborate this hypothesis. What is already known is that this disease is manifested by a set of factors, ranging from hereditary to factors related to lifestyle, stress situations, fragile family structure.
Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: The most common symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are:

Obsessions:  These are unwanted thoughts and impulses that occur repeatedly in the mind of the individual with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ( OCD). Common in this case are the persistent fear that some harm may happen to him or his family, unfounded worries about being contaminated or the pressing need to do everything absolutely correctly and perfectly.

Often, the individual is taken by disturbing thoughts, such as: “My hands may be contaminated, I need to disinfect them!”; “I must have left the gas open.”; or “I will harm my child.” Such thoughts are inopportune, unpleasant and generate a high degree of anxiety . Sometimes obsessions are violent or sexual in nature, or linked to illness .

Compulsions:  As a result of their obsessions, most people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder  (OCD) engage in repetitive behaviors called “compulsions”. The most common of them is the habit of washing or checking everything. Other compulsive behaviors may include: counting (usually while performing another compulsive action such as washing hands), repetition, hiding money or valuables, and incessantly rearranging objects so as to keep them in perfect alignment with each other. the others.

Mental disorders, such as repeating certain phrases, enumerating or checking something mentally are quite common symptoms. Such behaviors are usually intended to prevent harm from happening to the person with OCD or others. Some OCD patients have regular rituals, while others may change these rituals. Obeying rituals may provide these individuals with some relief from their anxiety , but this relief is temporary.

People with OCD display a range of criteria in their nonsensical obsessions. Often, especially when they are not actually obsessed, they may recognize that their obsessions and compulsions are unrealistic. At other times, they may distrust their own fears or strongly believe they make sense.

Most people with OCD struggle to eliminate unwanted obsessive thoughts and to avoid compulsive behaviors. Some are able to control their obsessive-compulsive symptoms for hours, especially when they are at work or school. However, over months or years, this resistance can weaken, and when this occurs, OCD can become so severe that the time wasted on its rituals takes over the victims’ lives, and it becomes impossible for them to continue their activities outside. From home.

OCD sufferers often try to hide their disorder rather than seek help. Most of the time they are able to disguise their obsessive-compulsive symptoms from friends and co-workers. An unfortunate consequence of this secrecy is that the person with OCD is without professional help for years from the beginning of their illness . And, at this point, they have already learned to lead their lives – and the lives of their families – according to their rituals.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatments: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ( OCD) has no cure, but available treatment for the disorder can help manage symptoms and prevent them from further interfering with a patient’s quality of life.

In general, people need lifelong treatment, either with medication alone or associated with other approaches such as psychotherapy. The two main treatment approaches for OCD are psychotherapy and medication. However, treatment is most effective when there is a combination of the two.

Psychotherapy: Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is considered by doctors to be one of the most effective forms of treatment for OCD, especially when combined with medication. Psychotherapeutic techniques consist of gradually exposing the person to situations in which he would normally use obsessions and compulsions to deal with. This process continues until the patient is able to learn healthy ways to deal with their own anxiety , without resorting to these characteristics.

Medications: Certain psychiatric medications can help control OCD obsessions and compulsions. In general, it is generally necessary to use higher doses than in other psychiatric disorders and also to make continuous use for a longer period of time. Antidepressants are often chosen first, but other medications such as antipsychotics and anxiolytics are also used to treat or control OCD symptoms.

Note: No one has ever experienced compulsive behavior, but if it is repeated to the point of impairing the performance of routine tasks, the person may have obsessive-compulsive disorder and needs treatment.

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