When describing a need for things to be in a certain order, people sometimes call themselves OCD. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a severe mental illness.
Furthermore, it has an impact on every aspect of a person’s life, including school, work, relationships, and everyday functioning. In this topic, we will tackle what you need to know about OCD mental health.
People with OCD are typically diagnosed when they are 19 years old. OCD affects one in every 100 adults and one in 200 children in the United States.
People Who Suffer From OCD Also Suffer From Depression Or ADHD and it affects people of all ages. Another hard truth for OCD is that it is a chronic illness and only trained professionals can diagnose it.
In this article, we will discuss obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, its signs, diagnosis, and treatment. Also, We will give 8 facts about OCD that you need to know for your awareness if you have OCD or supporting someone who has.
What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental anxiety disorder characterized by recurring thoughts or images about a variety of topics, including fear of germs, dirt, or intruders; acts of violence; hurting loved ones; sexual acts; or being overly tidy.
It affects children, teens, and adults. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, it affects one out of 100 adults in the United States and one out of 200 children and teens.
OCD is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of eight and twelve, or between late adolescence and early adulthood. OCD is usually diagnosed around the age of 19, with boys being diagnosed earlier than girls.
Anxiety disorders, such as OCD, are more common in developed countries than in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization.
OCD: Signs, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or impulses, and compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person feels compelled to perform in response to an obsession.
Obsessions, or unwanted and disturbing thoughts, images, or urges, are overwhelming for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Obsessions like these cause a lot of stress.
Compulsions are repetitive actions or thoughts that a person with OCD performs to alleviate anxiety. They typically feel compelled to engage in these behaviors daily.
People who have a family member with OCD may be predisposed to the illness. Experts also believe that, as an anxiety disorder, OCD is linked to serotonin levels in the brain, and that stress or illness can trigger its symptoms.
As a result, obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms take up a lot of time and cause emotional distress. Even if the person is aware that their fears and behaviors are irrational, they are powerless to change them.
Signs and Diagnosis of OCD
Those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, painful, and frightening. Furthermore, others are perplexed by their behavior and don’t understand why people with OCD are unable to control their actions.
Excessive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors, also known as compulsions of OCD rituals, are common symptoms in teens and adults. Symptoms of OCD generally fall into one of four categories:
- Contamination/mental contamination
- Ruminations/intrusive thoughts.
Obsessions with OCD – A person with OCD develops a fixation on specific fears or aversions that they experience regularly. The following are some examples:
- Fearing for one’s safety or becoming ill.
- An allergy to germs or dirt.
- Thoughts about sex and violence that are taboo.
- Aggressive thoughts directed at oneself or others.
- Environmental contaminants such as asbestos are a source of concern.
- Household chemicals, such as cleaners and solvents, have become a source of. obsession.
- Fear of outbursts of profanities and insults.
- Fear of inadvertently injuring someone.
- Inability to get rid of useless or worn-out items.
- The requirement for objects to be arranged in a specific manner.
Compulsions associated with OCD – OCD sufferers’ mental compulsions are an irrational reaction to their fears and obsessions. As a result, compulsive behaviors are an attempt to cope with these anxieties and obsessions.
A person with OCD believes that repeating the same behavior or action repeatedly will prevent the feared outcome.
Consider the following scenario:
- Checking that a door is locked or that the oven is turned off regularly.
- Checking one’s physical condition or body parts regularly.
- Rereading or rewriting is a good idea.
- Routine activities, such as going in and out of a door, are repeated.
- Handwashing excessively.
- Organizing and ordering things in a specific order, such as eating foods in a specific order.
- Cleaning things or oneself regularly.
- Counting obsessively.
- Performing tasks in multiples, such as three times opening or closing a door.
- Having to follow a set of strict guidelines.
Obsessive thoughts and compulsions usually last at least an hour each day for people with OCD. Furthermore, even when they are aware that their thoughts and behaviors are excessive, people are unable to control them.
Furthermore, they may experience a brief sense of relief after performing rituals, but these compulsive behaviors provide no pleasure. Another sign is that the symptoms harm one’s daily life.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the causes of OCD. Despite the lack of a clear cause, researchers are looking into some areas that could provide insight into the causes of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
OCD is a long-term condition that can deteriorate or improve slightly over time. People may try to alleviate their symptoms by avoiding situations that cause them to have obsessive thoughts and behaviors. Expert treatment, on the other hand, is required to achieve long-term change.
Anxiety disorders can be used to treat this condition. Additional disorders, such as body dysmorphia, substance abuse disorder, or depression, must also be addressed during treatment. Medication and therapy are both treatment options.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is effective in reducing OCD symptoms. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a type of CBT that is effective in reducing compulsive behaviors.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can also be beneficial. Furthermore, the National Institute of Mental Health is funding research into new treatment approaches for people with OCD symptoms who aren’t responding to standard treatments.
Deep brain stimulation is one of the techniques used in these new approaches.
Eight Facts About OCD You Need To Know
Here are eight facts about OCD that you should know if you have OCD or are supporting someone who does.
1. OCD Can Cause Serious Anxiety
You may experience severe anxiety as a result of obsessive thoughts if you have OCD. Obsessions are frequently treated with rituals or compulsions to alleviate anxiety. 1 These are some of the behaviors:
Obsessions and compulsions are common symptoms of OCD, but how they manifest varies from person to person. You may have a tic disorder if you have OCD and experience repetitive motor movements such as blinking or facial tics.
An obsession with cleanliness, an obsession with symmetry and order, and hoarding are all examples of OCD subtypes.
2. People Who Suffer From OCD Also Suffer From Depression Or ADHD
Many people’s symptoms of OCD can be improved with therapy and medication, but they may not address all of the problems they are having. OCD is associated with depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and eating or learning disorders in some people.
Accurate diagnosis and treatment of any health or medical conditions that coexist with OCD can help to improve a person’s overall quality of life.
3. OCD Affects People of All Ages
Approximately 2.3% of people will develop OCD at some point in their lives. OCD affects men and women equally, and people of all cultures and ethnicities are affected. However, several risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing this disorder, including:
Gender: Following puberty, both males and females are equally likely to develop OCD, but males are more likely to develop OCD during childhood.
Genetics: Having OCD in your family increases your risk significantly. The greater the risk, especially if the person’s OCD started when they were a child or teenager, the closer they are to your immediate family
Stressful and traumatic events: life events, such as sexual abuse or the death of a loved one, raise your risk.
Brain structure: Although the evidence isn’t conclusive, it’s thought that OCD symptoms are linked to structural abnormalities in the brain.
4. A Single OCD Gene Has Not Been Identified
A complex interaction between life experience and genetic risk factors leads to the development of OCD.
While no single gene has been identified, researchers have discovered a genetic link through twin studies, which revealed that when one twin has OCD, the other is more likely to develop the disorder.
5. OCD Is A Long-Term Illness
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has no cure; however, treatment can help you manage your symptoms and keep your obsessions and compulsions from interfering with your life.
Even if their obsessive thoughts and compulsions appear to be gone, people who take OCD medication to manage symptoms should keep taking it.
Do not stop taking your medication without first consulting your doctor.
6. OCD Can’t Be Diagnosed Using a Blood Test or X-Ray
If you suspect you have OCD, you should seek treatment from a trained mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. Because the symptoms of OCD are similar to those of other illnesses, it is critical to seek professional help.
7. Effective Treatments Are Available
Medications that affect serotonin levels, such as Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Anafranil (clomipramine), and Luvox (fluvoxamine), as well as psychotherapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, are among them (CBT).
Both medication and psychotherapy are effective. For those with treatment-resistant OCD, researchers are looking into other therapies such as deep brain stimulation (DBS).
8. OCD Can Only Be Diagnosed By Trained Professionals
People frequently use phrases like “That’s my OCD” or “I have a little OCD.” Obsessive-compulsive disorder, on the other hand, is a mental health condition that can only be diagnosed by professionals.
These experts look for signs of obsessions and compulsions, as well as the impact these thoughts and behaviors have on the person’s life.
Obsessions and compulsions in people with OCD “take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities that the person values,” according to the International OCD Foundation.
Consult a psychologist, psychiatrist, or trained therapist who has experience diagnosing and treating OCD if you are concerned about your symptoms.
Obsessive behavior and extreme fears are two symptoms of OCD that should be recognized. Additionally, because the condition and anxiety are linked, people may experience anxiety disorder symptoms as well.
Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can also be exacerbated by OCD. In addition, OCD is a progressive disorder if not treated properly.
As a result, if you have OCD symptoms, you should see a mental health professional right away.