What is it?
Obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disorder where an individual faces a pattern of unwanted thoughts and worries that lead to repetitive behaviours which are called compulsions or obsessions, according to Mayo Clinic. These compulsions can make it very difficult to get through daily activities such as washing dishes or eating a meal. Not being able to smoothly complete daily activities will lead to added stress on a person. Stress alone urges an individual to perform on their compulsions but the additional stress will cause a greater push towards the obsessions. It is considered to be a life-long disorder that millions of people live with.
It may be easy to tell an individual who suffers from OCD to ignore the urges but it is not that simple. The thoughts will continue to come back. Often, individuals feel embarrassed about having OCD and do not come forward for help, even though treatments can be successful.
Everyone who has OCD experiences different symptoms, the symptoms can be either compulsion symptoms or obsession symptoms or sometimes both. Compulsion symptoms are behaviors that individuals feel forced to repeat. Engaging in these acts only provides a temporary fix for the stress and anxiety an individual will be feeling. Compulsions have themes, a few themes include counting, checking, following a strict routine and cleaning. Obsession symptoms are repeated unwanted thoughts, images or desires that cause anxiety and/or stress. Like compulsions, obsessions have themes, contamination, losing control and harm. The symptoms vary in severity, they usually begin gradually and increase in severity as time goes on.
Depending on an individual’s symptoms the correct treatment will be advised for them. Cognitive behavioral therapy and taking medication are very common forms of treatment. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of psychotherapy that can help a person change the way they feel, think and behave. Psychotherapy is a general term that includes any form of care provided to help with mental health by talking to a health professional. A number of drugs can be used to help deal with OCD, Paxil, Zoloft and Luvox are often used. It is very important to receive treatment as soon as possible to have control over the disorder.
Causes and people who are at risk
There is no proof to prove that there are legitimate reasons why people experience OCD, there are few theories though. One theory is OCD may be caused by your body’s natural chemistry. Another theory is that it has to do with your genetics, but there is still no definite proof. The final theory is that obsessive and compulsive behaviours are learned based on your environment. The individuals who would be at risk are ones who have OCD family members, anyone who has experienced a traumatic or stressful situation and individuals who already have mental health disorders. Although, anyone can have OCD and there is no way to prevent it.
A common stigma for anyone who has a mental health disorder is being seen weak. People with OCD have to fear stigma wherever they are, this includes work, at home and in their relationships according to Made of Millions. A common sentence heard is “That person is crazy,” this statement is far from being true. People with OCD have highly active brains and should not be ashamed of the condition they have.
Living with OCD
Living with OCD is no easy task but many people have to live with this condition. Some people spend most of their day trying to fight their compulsions and are not able to carry on with usual activities. While others seem to be completing daily activities but still suffering with their repetitive thoughts.
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