Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a common mental health issue. It causes those people who are affected to exhibit compulsive behaviors and have obsessive thoughts. OCD can occur in both men and women, and it can start at any age. In fact, many people develop it when they are in early puberty, although it most commonly starts in early adulthood. The condition can be very distressing and has a significant negative impact on the patient’s quality of life. However, it can be controlled with treatment. This article will look at what you need to know about obsessive-compulsive disorder.
With regards to the symptoms, those with OCD exhibit frequent compulsive behaviors and obsessive thoughts. What you need to know about obsessive-compulsive disorder include the fact that:
1. Obsessions are unpleasant, unwanted thoughts, urges, or images that enter your mind repeatedly. These tend to make you feel anxious, uneasy, and/or disgusted.
2. Compulsions are behaviors or mental acts that you repeat again and again in an attempt to find relief from the unpleasantness that the obsessive thoughts cause.
For instance, people may have obsessive thoughts about the possibility of having reversed their car over a child. They will have to stop their car several times while they are reversing to check that they haven't done this.
In understanding what you need to know about obsessive-compulsive disorder, you will also need to look at the causes. Unfortunately, the causes of OCD are still poorly understood, although some factors have been identified to be of importance, including:
1. A family history, which may suggest a genetic link
2. Brain abnormalities, including low serotonin levels
3. Life events, including neglect, abuse, or bullying, as well as bereavement and childbirth
4. Personality factors, particularly if you have very high standards of responsibility for others and yourself.
Help is available for those with OCD, but many don't seek it because they feel embarrassed about their condition. It is important to understand OCD as a health condition, and one that can be treated. First of all, you can visit your family physician, who can refer you for therapeutic services if needed. Secondly, you can self-refer to psychological therapy services.
If you feel that a loved one may have OCD, you should gently talk to the person about this and present some solutions. The treatments are very effective, stopping the condition from having such an impact on life.
OCD Treatments include:
1. Psychological treatment, particularly cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which helps people to change their thought patterns. Generally, this has a rapid positive effect.
2. Medication, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which is a class of antidepressants. It can take quite long for people to notice the benefits of this medication, which is why it should be used in combination with psychological treatment.
3. It has also been shown to be very beneficial for people with OCD to join support groups. This enables them to interact with peers who understand just how difficult it is to live with others. Support groups allow people to talk about their concerns, while at the same time seeing that they are not alone.