Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental health disorder characterised by obsessions (unwanted thoughts and fears) and resultant compulsions (repetitive behaviours). A person with OCD gets caught in a cycle of unwanted thoughts and irrational, excessive urges to do certain actions. Most of the time, even if they know their thoughts, fears and behaviours do not make logical sense, they continue to do the same as they are unable to stop themselves from it. The obsessions and compulsions a person with OCD has may interfere with their daily routine and social functioning.
The exact cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder remains unknown. The possible factors are:
- Family history or hereditary
- Changes in brain functions
- Learnt behaviours
Obsessive compulsive disorders include both obsessions and compulsions. A person with OCD may have both obsessions and compulsions or they may have only either one of them.
- Obsession symptoms
- Upsetting thoughts
- Fear of contamination
- Obsessions with symmetry or perfectionism
- Stress when objects are not placed in order
- Negative, aggressive or horrific thoughts on harming self or others
- Anxiety associated with suppression of thoughts
- Washing and cleaning repeatedly
- Checking if door is locked or if stove is off, repeatedly
- Silently repeating a prayer
- Following strict routines
- Counting in certain patterns
Diagnosis of OCD includes:
- Psychological assessment
- DSM 5 criteria (Diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders) disorders
- Physical examination and other tests to rule out existence of other health conditions
There is no sure or exact way to prevent OCD. Getting treatment at the earliest warning sign can help you from worsening the condition and in managing your symptoms.
Treatment for OCD may not cure the condition completely. It can help in controlling the symptoms. Major treatment options include:
- Psychotherapy: a treatment method in which you learn about your thoughts, emotions, feelings, moods or behaviours and helps you to eliminate or control your troubling symptoms.
- Medications: antidepressant drugs are mostly used in the treatment of OCD.
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