12 in 1000 people in the UK suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD is a disturbing mental issue where the patient tends to develop obsessive thoughts about almost anything- which leads him into compulsive or repetitive tasks. For example, you will know a person has OCD if he washes his hand till it’s scrubbed raw for a minor insignificant stain. Put simply, with OCD, the brain gets stuck onto a specific thought or behavior which triggers repetitive actions. Worse is, often the patient suffering from the disorder knows his obsessions are exaggerated but he is unable to control his urges.
OCD usually onsets in the adolescent phase or in early 20’s
Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
People who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder tend to develop both obsessive thoughts & compulsive behaviors.
Obsessive thoughts that are commonly observed in OCD patient are-
- Worries about losing out on control
- Worries about harming others or oneself
- Persistent worries of contamination by dirt or germs
- Sexually explicit and violent images and thoughts
- Extreme focus on moral ideas or religious matters
- Worries about losing out on favorite things
- Excessive obsession with symmetry and order
- Extreme stress on superstitions
Compulsive actions that are spotted with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are-
- Constant double-checking for extra assurance
- Tapping, counting or repeating certain specific words or actions
- Excessive cleaning and washing
- Repeated checking on near & dear ones or constant worries about their safety for no apparent reason
- Excessive focus in religious rituals like constant praying
- Excessively engaging arranging things in office or home or table to ensure there is order everywhere
Effects of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may lead to serious problems which may be ruinous for the patient in the long term. Issues arising from OCD may lead to damaged relationships with near ones and acquaintances – which may push him to isolation and depression. Here is a summary of the menacing effects of OCD-
- Inability to attend social gatherings, school and work
- Social isolation
- Damaged interpersonal relationships
- Inability to sustain oneself in work front
- Poor finances
- Addiction and substance abuse
- Suicidal tendencies and thoughts
Remedies of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder-
There are two major psychological therapies to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These are Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. With ERP, the patient is taught to muster the courage to face the particular situation that sends him to frenzy. Additionally, he is also guided on how to prevent himself from his compulsive rituals that he used to do while faced with such situations.
CBT specifically focuses on irrational self-critical thoughts and guide the patient to get rid of them. This therapy is usually prescribed in addition to ERP.
Doctors also prescribe medications like anti-depressants and Benzodiazepines like valium as they work to calm the mind. A calm mind is able to put reins on obsessive thoughts to some extent. If you are a chronic patient of OCD, you may buy bulk Valium as you may have to take the medicine on a prolonged basis. Do not ever stop taking medications without consulting your doctor.