Obsessive compulsive disorder can be defined as a psychological disease involving several unwanted obsessions and compulsions. Some people may have either condition while others may have both i.e. obsessions and compulsions. In the World, 2% of people are affected by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Table of Contents
What are Obsessions?
Obsession is a term used for a condition in which recurring thoughts come into your mind that cannot be neglected even if you want to do so. These thoughts constantly disturb your mental condition and may disrupt your daily life activities as well.
- Fear of losing something or someone
- Fear or getting contaminated after touching a dirty thing
- Unwanted sexual thoughts that can be visual
- Violent thoughts
- Suicidal thoughts
Compulsions are the habits or rituals that a person is doing over and over again to compensate for the obsessive thought e.g. washing hands several times after touching a contaminated thing. These habits are done repeatedly in response to an obsessive thought. People having OCD want to quit a particular habit but they cannot do so because of the persistent thoughts they are having continuously. The persons with OCD are highly organized and they want everything to be systematic and in an orderly manner.
- Checking the lights again after switching them off
- Checking the alarms and security system repeatedly
- Cleaning the household items again and again
- Counting a number several times
Symptoms and Types of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:
Considering the symptoms of Obsessions and Compulsions, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is classified into 4 types:
1. OCD of Contamination
Example : Washing hands several times after touching a contaminated thing
2. OCD of Uncertainty
Example: Checking the alarms and security system repeatedly
3. OCD of Intrusive thoughts
Example: Unwanted and Recurring thoughts related to sex and taboos that are forbidden
4. OCD of Perfection
Example: Cleaning the household items again and again
Causes and Risk Factors of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:
There are no exact causes of OCD but there are some risk factors that can possibly be a reason of Obsessive Compulsive disorder.
Genes play a major role in determining the possibility of getting a disease or not. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can be hereditary due to the transformation of abnormal genes. A person having his parents, siblings or child with OCD is at greater risk of developing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It can affect a person of any age and gender but OCD is seen mostly in children, teens, young adults. It also affects women more than men especially in pregnant women.
OCD is more prevalent in the United states affecting 15% of males and 22% of females.
If a person has been a victim of sexual or domestic abuse or any trauma in childhood, he is prone to develop OCD. Any incident in the past that may trigger the emotions is also a factor causing obsessive compulsive disorder.
Any abnormality in the anatomy or function of brain can lead to obsessive compulsive disorder. Physical differences in certain part of the brain (frontal cortex and subcortical structure) is also a cause of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Some children may develop OCD due to a bacterial infection (streptococcal infection) which is called Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder or due to PANDAS.
Diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:
It is sometimes difficult to figure out whether the person is experiencing Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or any other personality disorder like Schizophrenia but diagnosis can be done by examining the types and severity of the symptoms. Many people are obsessed over certain thoughts and habits but the sign of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is that it at least takes an hour in the day and interferes in the daily activities of your routine.
Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:
The Treatment of OCD varies from person to person because of the type of symptoms a person possess. Following are some treatment methodologies for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a psychological disorder so it can be treated by successive sessions of psychotherapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that can help you change your patterns of thinking and make you able to control your undesirable thoughts.
Drugs related to psychiatry like Serotonin acts as a solution pill for people and help them control their obsessions and compulsions. For quick rehabilitation, some people may shift to antipsychotic drugs because drugs like Serotonin take at least 2-4 months to show visible effects.
There are some relaxation techniques like mediation, yoga and regular exercise that may help you attain tranquillity in your personality and bring your thoughts under your will; but of course it is a time taking process comparing to drugs.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS):
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a device that uses magnetic field effect to regulate the symptoms and complications of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It is held above the head to stimulate the nerve cells in the brain. It is FDA approved technique to treat OCD and is more effective than the other treatment methodologies.
Conditions Associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:
There are some conditions or disorders that are related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They can be a cause of OCD or they can be due to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
It is a disorder in which the patient is obsessed over the minor things that are worthless for other people. The person with hoarding disorder develops an extreme sense of possession that is sometimes detrimental for the person himself. The person is highly systematic, analytic and well organized. He wants everything to be perfectly ordered.
Olfactory Reference Syndrome:
In Olfactory reference syndrome, the person thinks that his body or clothes are emitting some foul odour that is unbearable for the people around him. Such a person is also obsessed with the odour of other people. They think that their collogues, relatives, friends or any person around them must be having an enchanting fragrance.
It is a condition in which the patient always thinks that he is extremely ill and cannot get well. He wants everyone to believe him that he remains ill all the time. The illness can be mental as well as physical. The treatment for such people is adapting the habit of mediation and yoga.
The people suffering from body dysmorphic disorder use to think that they are somehow abnormal or there are defects in their bodies. They are extremely obsessed with their appearance. They might presume that they do not look good, even if they do, and are always feeling embarrassed. They are sometimes ashamed of their appearance and do not accept themselves as they are. They want that they must look perfect all the time and people should admire them.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder with persistent and unwanted obsessions that are unpleasant. Obsessions are the recurring thoughts that a person perceives all the time while compulsions are the habits that a person uses to perform in response to the obsessive thoughts. Types of Obsessive-compulsive disorder depend upon the symptoms of it. Diagnosis of OCD is difficult and involves some technical criterion. Treatment of OCD consists of psychotherapy, medications, TMS etc. There is a difference between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Personality disorders like Schizophrenia. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is also related to some other mental disorders like dysmorphic syndrome, Hypochondriasis etc.