Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can vary in its severity, and because of this, not many people realize they have the disease. However, if you feel like you may be carrying symptoms of OCD – it’s not too late to understand what this disease is and how you can treat it to make a healthy recovery. During this article, we will discuss what OCD is and how it can be treated. Let’s get started.
What Is OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and recurrent thoughts, feelings, images, or sensations (obsessions) and engage in behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) in response to these obsessions. People with OCD may be plagued by persistent, unwanted thoughts or fears that drive them to engage in repetitive behaviors or rituals. These rituals are meant to prevent or neutralize the anxiety associated with the obsessive thoughts. In many cases, the compulsions are not realistically connected to the feared outcome and only serve to temporarily relieve anxiety. For example, a person with an excessive fear of contamination may wash their hands dozens of times a day. OCD can cause significant distress and interfere with daily functioning. It is a relatively common anxiety disorder, affecting about 2.2 million adults in the United States (about 1 in 40). If you’re suffering from OCD, it’s important to seek professional help straight away. Mental health facilities can offer a range of residential and outpatient treatments for people with OCD; click here to find out more. You shouldn’t have to let this disease take over your life. Hand yourself over to the professionals who care and who can help you make a stable recovery, in order to live a full and happy life.
What Are The Symptoms Of OCD?
OCD often begins in adolescence or young adulthood but can also begin in childhood or later in life. The hallmark symptom of OCD is obsessions, which are persistent and unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images that are intrusive and cause distress or anxiety. Common obsessions include fear of dirt or contamination, excessive concern with order or symmetry, aggressive or horrific impulses, unwanted sexual thoughts, and the need to have things in a particular order.
In addition to obsessions, people with OCD may also engage in compulsions, which are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels driven to do in order to ease anxiety or distress. Common compulsions include washing and cleaning, checking, counting, and hoarding. Compulsions are often done in response to an obsession and are meant to neutralize or prevent the feared event from occurring. However, the compulsions are not really connected to the feared event and only serve to temporarily relieve anxiety. In many cases, the person recognizes that the compulsions are excessive or unreasonable, but feels powerless to stop them.
People with OCD may also experience what is called “pure obsessions” or “obsessions without compulsions.” These are obsessions that cause distress but do not prompt a person to engage in any type of ritualistic behavior. For example, a person with pure OCD may be intensely afraid of contracting a disease, even though there is no realistic chance of exposure.
What Causes OCD?
The exact cause of OCD is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. OCD is often associated with other mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and Tourette’s syndrome.
What are the treatments for OCD?
There are many effective treatments for OCD, including exposure and response prevention (ERP) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can also help reduce symptoms.
Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is a type of CBT that involves gradually exposing yourself to the thoughts, objects, or situations that trigger your OCD symptoms. This exposure is combined with a “no response” prevention component, which means not engaging in any compulsions or avoidance behaviors after the exposure. For example, if you are afraid of contamination, you may be exposed to dirt or germs and then prevented from washing your hands. ERP has been shown to be an effective treatment for OCD.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is another type of treatment that can be helpful for OCD. CBT involves identifying and changing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your OCD symptoms. CBT can be done in individual or group therapy sessions. Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can also be helpful in treating OCD. SSRIs are a type of antidepressant that can help to reduce OCD symptoms. If you think you might have OCD, it is important to seek professional help. The above treatments can be effective in reducing symptoms and helping you to manage the disorder.
What Are The Complications Of OCD?
OCD can lead to a number of complications, including anxiety and fear, depression, substance abuse, and social isolation due to avoiding social situations out of fear of contamination.
Get The Right Help
OCD can be a debilitating disorder, but treatment can be effective in reducing symptoms and helping you to manage the disorder. If you think you might have OCD, it is important to see a mental health professional for an evaluation. With proper treatment, you can live a full and productive life.