OCD – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
OCD stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It is a mental health disorder characterized by recurring, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) that the person feels driven to perform. OCD symptoms can interfere with daily activities, relationships, and quality of life.
The exact causes of OCD are not known, but there are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing the disorder such as:
- Genetics: OCD tends to run in families, suggesting that there may be a genetic component to the disorder.
- Brain chemistry: Research has found that people with OCD have differences in the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin.
- Life events: Traumatic or stressful life events, such as abuse, illness, or death of a loved one, may trigger the symptoms.
- Personality traits: Certain personality traits, such as perfectionism or excessive need for control, may increase the risk of developing this disorder.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to toxins, infections, or other environmental factors may also play a role in the development the disorder.
The symptoms of OCD can be divided into two categories: obsessions and compulsions
Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that cause significant anxiety or distress.
- Fear of contamination or germs
- Unwanted or aggressive thoughts about harm to oneself or others
- Excessive doubts about safety or morality
- Need for symmetry, order, or precision
- Unwanted sexual or violent thoughts or images
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person feels compelled to perform in order to alleviate anxiety or prevent a feared outcome.
- Excessive cleaning, washing, or sanitizing
- Repeatedly checking things (e.g. doors, locks, appliances) to ensure safety
- Counting or arranging objects in a specific way
- Repeating words or phrases mentally
- Seeking reassurance or confessing
Usually, individuals with OCD recognize that their thoughts and behaviors are irrational but feel unable to stop them.
This condition is treatable. Along with effective treatments, individuals significantly improve.
Some common treatments for OCD include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT),
- Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy,
- Medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to adjust levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Mindfulness-based approaches such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT),
- Self-help strategies such as practicing relaxation techniques, setting realistic goals, and engaging in enjoyable activities.
It is important to seek help from a mental health professional if struggling with OCD. A trained professional can provide a comprehensive assessment, develop an individualized treatment plan, and offer ongoing support and guidance throughout the recovery process.
It is important to note that having one or more risk factors does not necessarily mean that a person will develop OCD, and individuals without any risk factors can still develop the disorder.
Only professionals make proper diagnosis.
Don’t forget to keep your mental health in check. Book an appointment with Dr Carla.