Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder caused by irresistible thoughts and emotions. It involves worrisome thoughts, images and urges that go through one’s mind. It resorts to mental issue and repetitive actions (compulsion). For example, you clean a lot because you are scared of been contaminated yet you don’t get satisfied. The urge comes back stronger and ends up causing anxiety. Generally, people have constant thoughts and repeated actions but this does not affect their day to day activities.
Some examples of these compulsive actions include:
Cleaning: Usually because of fear of germs or dirt. Many victims of OCD will spend hours cleaning themselves or their surroundings.
Checking: Some people are in constant fear of hurting themselves or hurting others, so they are constantly doing things like; checking the door to see if it is locked or checking the gas stove constantly to see if it is off.
Arranging: To eliminate a feeling of discomfort, some people have that overwhelming urge to always keep things in order, for example arranging books or household items in a certain way.
People suffering from OCD are unable to control their thoughts and actions and they go through distress if they don’t carry out these compulsive actions. Diagnosis of OCD is quite complicate because it takes time to monitor these behaviors.
You are probably suffering from OCD if:
- You are always scared of being infected and infecting others.
- You are always scared of hurting yourself or hurting others
- Washing and cleaning every time
- Too superstitious
- Always trying too hard do things right
- Too prayerful and you constantly have overwhelming desires for spiritual things
Treatment for OCD
Some people believe that OCD cannot be completely treated, that it can only be managed. This fact is however up for debate. Typically, there are two methods of treating OCD; the exposure and response prevention and cognitive therapy. Over time however, it has been established that cognitive-behavioral therapy is the more effective of the two.
The Exposure and Response Prevention
Requires you to continually be exposed to the source of your obsession and hold back or abstain from the compulsive action that causes anxiety as you’ve been told. For instance, if you are a compulsive checker, you might be asked to close the door and not allowed to go and keep on checking as usual. As you sit with anxiety, the urge to go and check the door will gradually vanish by itself. By doing this, you know you have some control over your obsessive thought and compulsive behavior. This shows that exposure and response prevention can “retrain” the brain permanently minimizing the occurrence of OCD symptoms.
Cognitive therapy concentrates on the catastrophic thought and an excessive sense of responsibility you feel. A more significant part of this cognitive therapy is teaching you the best way to respond to your obsessive thought without resorting to compulsive behavior.
In severe cases, antidepressants have been used alongside therapy for treatment of obsessive compulsive order.