Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder in which one is often or always troubled by ideas or images that stick in one’s mind. It has two components: –
1. Obsession- Obsessions are unwelcome thoughts, images, urges, worries or doubts that repeatedly appear in your mind. They can make you feel very anxious (although some people describe it as ‘mental discomfort’ rather than anxiety).
2. Compulsion- Compulsions are repetitive activities that you do to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsession. It could be something like repeatedly checking if a door is locked, repeating a specific phrase in your head or checking how your body feels.
Obsession and compulsion are normal phenomena which everyone experience in their life. These short-lived phenomena are completely normal. But the problem starts when these obsession and compulsion becomes mutinous, go beyond one’s control. A person suffering from OCD have huge impact on their normal life. It impacts their relationships, they are always surrounded by the feeling of being alone and it also impacts the physical health of person.
OCD affects between 1% and 2.5% of people. OCD symptoms usually begin during adolescence. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. It often runs chronic course.
Symptoms of OCD
* Fear of causing or failing to prevent harm
* Intrusive thoughts, images and impulses
* Obsessive doubt
* Fear of contamination
* Fears and worries related to order or symmetry
* Checking, counting, hording and repeating.
* Correcting thoughts.
* Need for symmetry, orderliness
What causes OCD?
There are different theories about why OCD develops. None of these theories can fully explain every person’s experience. There are few suggested causes of OCD after extensive researches. They are: 1. Dysfunctional beliefs- some theories suggest that OCD develops because of the dysfunctional belief and interpretation of the situation in a way that actually do not exist. People may feel more responsible, or alert at a situation than required. 2. Personal experience- Like any other mental health issues, bitter personal experience is one of the reasons. If a person had a painful childhood experience, parents having similar anxieties, ongoing anxiety or stress or being part of a stressful event leads to OCD. 3. Biological factors- Some biological theories suggest that a lack of the brain chemical serotonin may have a role in OCD and any traumatic event in one’s life can trigger the illness, but these theories are not universally accepted. Biological theories do not explain why the condition develops differently in different people.
Self-care and treatments
Self-care is very helpful in the process of recovering from OCDs. The self-care involves:
Build your support network- This involves talking to someone whom you trust about your OCD. This will also enable you to spend more time with friends and family.
Try peer support- Peer support group helps to make you feel accepted for who you are. This not only boosts the self-confidence but also helps a person to feel less isolated. This relieves a person when he/she find others with very similar experiences. Peer groups also focuses on breaking the stigma and providing information about the issues to masses.
Learn to relax- a person has to develop mechanism through which he/ she can manage stress by using some relaxation techniques.
Look after yourself – getting enough sleep and taking proper diet with some exercise is very necessary.
Treatments for OCDs
* Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – Again CBT is very helpful in focusing on how someone’s thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect feelings and behavior.
* Exposure and response prevention (ERP) – ERP is a type of CBT that is recommended for treating OCD. ERP works by helping you confront your obsessions and resist the urge to carry out compulsions.
* Medication – Medicines are taken alongside the CBT or ERP. The main types of medicines provided are anti-depressant, tranquillisers and beta blockers.