What is OCD?

John Neyman Jr
Dr. John is a counselor and therapist to ADHD children and their parents

Obsessive–compulsive disorder or OCD is an anxiety disorder exemplify by disturbing thoughts that produce restlessness, anxiety, fear, or worry, by repetitive and rhythmic behaviors intended at minimizing anxiety, or by a combination of such thoughts or obsessions and behaviors or compulsions. They do repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, cleaning, or checking that were habitually performed with the expectation of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. When they do these so-called rituals, it usually provides them temporary relief, but not performing them distinctly increases their anxiety.

We all have habits, lifestyles and routines in our daily lives, such as brushing our teeth before bed, combing our hair, and washing our hands before meals. On the other hand, for people with OCD, patterns of behavior are interfering with their daily lives. OCD is the fourth-most-common mental disorder, and is diagnosed almost as often as asthma and diabetes mellitus. There are people with this disorder that knows that their obsessions and compulsions make no sense. However they can’t ignore or stop the action, because these are thoughts that recur and persist.

For several years, OCD was considered to be uncommon. However, current studies reveal that an estimated number of 3 million Americans ages 18 to 54 may have OCD at any one time, which is about 2.3% of the people in this age group. Also, OCD affects men and women evenly.

Obsession and compulsion has its own distinct characteristics. Obsession is frequent, recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that are disturbing and already inappropriate. These thoughts can cause severe anxiety, grief, depression or distress. The person also aims to restrain, suppress, or pay no attention to the thoughts, urges, images, and to counteract them with some other thought or action. They will also distinguish that these inappropriate reactions are a product of his or her imagination and not based in reality.

Compulsion on the other hand are repetitive behaviors or psychological acts wherein the person feels the urge that they have to execute in response to an obsession, or based on strict rules. These are also behaviors or psychological acts to avoid or lessen distress or put off some anxious event or situation. However, these behaviors or psychological acts are not linked in a realistic manner with what they are supposed to counteract or prevent.

Treatment can be combining therapy with medication which is typically considered the most effective way to take care of OCD. Also, there are a number of medicines that are available to cure OCD. These medicines are also frequently used to treat depression or melancholy that includes: clomipramine, fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine and fluvoxamine. However, these drugs have side effects such as dry mouth, nausea, drowsiness, and sometimes sexual side effects. The improvement in your behavior may be seen after several weeks.

OCD can be treated as well under the supervision of a skilled therapist. In behavioral therapy, people face circumstances that cause or trigger their obsessions and anxiety. These individuals are then encouraged not to do the rituals that habitually help control and manage their nervous feelings. In order to use this process, a person with this disorder must be able to stand the high levels of anxiety that can be the outcome of the experience.

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