Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD, commonly called OCD, appears in different ways, and not every person has the same symptoms; many people have combinations of various OCD symptoms. In general, those who have OCD suffer from unwanted and intrusive thoughts that they can’t seem to get out of their heads (obsessions), often compelling them to repeatedly perform ritualistic behaviours and routines (compulsions) to try and ease their anxiety.
If you or a loved one suffers from Obsessive-compulsive Disorder, you’re not alone. Millions of people have it, and it doesn’t discriminate: This disorder affects men, women, teens, and children from every background, race, and ethnicity. But with the appropriate treatment, you are most likely to find relief.
Most adults who have Obsessive-compulsive Disorder are aware that their obsessions and compulsions are irrational, yet they feel powerless to stop them. They may spend several hours every day focusing on obsessive thoughts and performing seemingly senseless rituals involving hand-washing, counting, or checking to ward off persistent, unwelcome thoughts, feelings, or images. These can interfere with a person’s normal routine, schoolwork, job, family, or social activities. Trying to concentrate on daily activities may be difficult.
Untreated Obsessive-compulsive Disorder can be detrimental to all aspects of life, so getting proper treatment is essential to taking control over the illness and gaining relief. Learning about the disorder is critical to finding the right treatment and overcoming frequently incapacitating symptoms.
Unlike adults, children and teens with Obsessive-compulsive Disorder may not realise that their obsessions and compulsions are excessive or even view their symptoms as a disorder that can be treated.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a serious, yet treatable disorder that often occurs with depression and anxiety disorders. If not treated properly, it may become disabling.
Obsessive-compulsive Disorder has a neurobiological basis, although research has not identified any definitive causes. But researchers have been able to demonstrate that those certain areas of the brain function differently in people with OCD and that the symptoms may involve communication errors among different parts of the brain.
This disorder is most likely the result of a combination of neurobiological, genetic, behavioural, and cognitive factors that trigger the disorder in a specific person at a particular point in time.
Environmental factors may also contribute to the onset of Obsessive-compulsive Disorder, including traumatic brain injuries and a severe bacterial or viral infection such as strep throat or the flu. Studies suggest that infection doesn’t cause OCD, but it triggers symptoms in children who are genetically predisposed to it.
Most people who seek treatment experience significant improvement and enjoy an improved quality of life. It is important to work closely with a healthcare professional to determine the best option.
Getting Help for OCD
Therapy is usually a series of weekly one-hour office visits. You will be assigned exposure and response prevention (ERP) homework exercises specifically tailored to your symptoms. Complete your homework every week to make good progress and see the best results.
Medication may be prescribed when the anxiety associated with Obsessive-compulsive Disorder is severe, or if you have other conditions along with OCD. When a more intensive level of care is necessary, options include intensive outpatient, day program, partial hospital, and residential programs.
If you’re concerned about symptoms of Obsessive-compulsive Disorder, make an appointment with a therapist or your doctor. Your responses will help your therapist or doctor make a proper diagnosis and determine an effective treatment plan.
Be prepared to make the most of each office visit. Follow the tips below to make sure your concerns are addressed and your questions are answered.
- Write your questions ahead of time and bring them with you.
- Take notes during the appointment to make sure you understand what you are hearing.
- Ask for clarification whenever necessary.
- Ask questions and learn where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
- Be forthcoming and persistent about issues that concern you. Trust your instincts in your search to find a compatible doctor or therapist.
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