Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a long lasting mental disorder. Anybody of any age can have this. The cause of OCD can be any past traumatic event, stressful event or child abuse. However, the cause of this disorder is most of the times, unknown.
In our day to day lives, we go through moments where we get some odd thoughts(can be anything!). But, that does not mean, we all have “SOME OCD”(this is not even valid!). The people who actually go through this, get thoughts that do not leave. In other words, they get an odd feeling or a thought and it becomes an on-going and uninterpreted part of their lives. People with OCD find it tough to let go of their thoughts.
Previously, it was recognised as an Anxiety Disorder. But, Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel(DSM-5,2013) of Mental Disorders, reclassified it under Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.
It can make one person affect their personal, social and academic aspects of life. Their are different types of activities and thoughts that a person has, under this. It can range from a keen drive to wash oneself again and again to aggressive thoughts for others or even, self. Before, studying a bit more about what a person actually does, let’s understand the meaning of the disorder first.
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Meaning of “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder”
To understand the meaning of the disorder, it is necessary for us to break the term down!
WHAT ARE OBSESSIONS ?
- Obsessions are persistent and uncontrollable feelings or thoughts.
- In addition, they are recurring in nature. Also, they are very different from the term “obsessed”(absorbed into something) that we use on a daily basis. On the other hand, we are talking about a symptom.
- They can be uncomfortable and intense feelings like fear, disgust and doubt.
- Moreover, it is very difficult for a person with OCD to not focus on their obsessive thoughts even if they know the thoughts are not true.
- Such people have a NEED to have things in a particular way EVERY WHERE AND EVERY TIME. Even if they try distracting themselves, they end up bothering excessively. Hence, it leads to severe anxiety.
- There are different kinds of concerns, one has. They can be related to morality, hygiene, illness or any other thing.
WHAT ARE COMPULSIONS?
- Compulsions are irresistible constraints that make one act in a certain way.
- In addition, they are responsive in nature. People with OCD tend to use them as an escape but only sometimes, people realise that they are temporary.
- Moreover, compulsions seem to act as a neutriliser and an extinguisher to the on-going fire like obsessions.
- Normal habits and double checks should not be confused with compulsions. Compulsive feelings drive one to never feel the satisfaction of having completed a task.
- The basic aim behind performing a compulsive task is to reduce the tension caused by obsessions.
- For instance, checking the door lock, washing hands, rearranging things or performing any other task several times.
Importantly and finally,
a disorder is when a systematic functioning is disrupted. In other words, a set of problems that cause difficulty in the normal routine.
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Signs of “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder”
OCD can affect any gender and any age. There is no constraint to that. In addition, genes play some role in it, however, it does not run in the family. Along with the genetics, the brain functioning and environment plays a vital role in the cause of OCD. As discussed before, traumas or incidents of childhood can become a cause for this disorder.
Having recurring obsessive or compulsive feelings are the root-signs to this disorder.
- The most basic feeling is that the task that they just completed, has not been done. In other words, they never feel the satisfaction of completing a specific task. For instance, a person with irrational fear of germs may take a bath again and again.
- There are some people who have OCD and they do not recognise these feelings as false. They are termed to have poor insights. Such people lack awareness and judgement about their obsessive and compulsive drives.
- At times, people are not able to distinguish between the rationality and irrationality of their thought.
- Some people tend to believe that their thoughts will definitely lead to an action which might lead to a tragic event. For instance, constant fear of harming a closed love one.
- A person with OCD tends to face struggles in the mundane activities. Their compulsive behaviour tends to cause an obstacle in other aspects, as well.
Treatment of “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder”
- The foremost thing should be to contact a professional or join a support group.
- The most effective treatments used for OCD are psychotherapy, medications or both.
- The form of psychotherapy used in this disorder is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy . It helps in teaching how to handle obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour. Talk therapy helps a lot to cope up with irrational drives and fears.
- To reduce the symptoms of OCD, medications like antidepressants are given to people.
FOR TREATMENT, YOU MAY READ: NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH
Things to do for SELF-HELP
- In addition to professional help, one should try doing some things for self-help.
- Meditation and exercises are natural and effective ways to deal with it. They are a great stress-buster and help in staying calm, as well. You can also practise deep breathing and Yoga.
- Regular and healthy sleep is very important. Lack of sleep can trigger obsessive thoughts and even, anxiety.
- Maintain a Journal to note down your obsessive thoughts and track them. For a very initial stage, this helps a lot to recognise the thoughts and feelings. Also, it helps in getting a command over them.
- While performing any repulsive task, try to avoid the urge to repeat it. If you are unable to, then it is still okay because it is not entirely in control.
- NEVER STOP INTERACTING, even if you do not feel like. It is very important to reach out and stay connected with your family and friends. Losing touch can seriously trigger many things. Moreover, it is always good to keep in touch with the people around you.
The Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can turn serious and severe, if not treated. You should always share the problem with your family and consult a doctor, as well. However, the obsessive or compulsive feelings should not be confused with the routine activities.
Also, If you have somebody with OCD, try to help them as much as you can. Be kind to them and never get angry for their behaviour(it is not controllable for them). Do not let any disorder take over the depth of your bond with someone!
AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION