Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders​

Clinically Reviewed by: Dr. Robin Campbell, LMFT, PHD

Obsessive-compulsive disorders, also known as OCD are somewhat common in America. At least 1% of American adults suffer from OCD yearly.

So, learning everything you can about OCD is important.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD)?

This is a mental condition that causes repetitive urges, sensations, or thoughts. These thoughts or actions are unwanted and usually compel a person to do the same things repeatedly.

Repetitive urges and thoughts are obsessions while repeated actions are compulsions. Most people who suffer from OCD will have one of these problems. However, it is possible to have both obsessions and compulsions.

How Does Someone with OCD Behave?

People who have OCD are usually under a lot of stress because of their condition. Attempts to suppress compulsions and obsession might also make them anxious.

Performing those repetitive rituals is the only way to release some of their tension.

People affected with OCD can get depressed and ashamed of their condition. Seeking treatment early is key to managing the situation.

What are the Types of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

OCD has been divided into four categories. While there are other types of OCD, these are the most common.

Unwanted/Repetitive Thoughts:- This category usually suffers from unwanted thought processes. these thoughts can be about violence and aggression. People with this form of OCD have a thinking obsession.

Contamination:- As the name suggests, people with this OCD are afraid of being contaminated by dirt or germs. Thus, they are compelled to clean constantly. For others, the problem of contamination might be mental. So, they might feel like dirt because of how they are treated by others.

Repeated Checking:- This form of OCD is marked by an obsession to keep checking the state of other things. People with this form of OCD find themselves checking alarms, locks, or switches repeatedly.

Ordering and Symmetry:- People suffering from this form of OCD want things to be done in a particular way. For example, they might want their clothes to be arranged in the same pattern or books to be organized in the same order. Not following this order causes them distress.

What are the Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

The symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can be divided into two main categories: obsessions and compulsions. The obsessive symptoms of OCD include:

  1. Constant Worry About Safety: Persistent concern over the well-being and safety of oneself and loved ones.
  2. Repetitive Thoughts of Infidelity: Recurrent, baseless thoughts or beliefs regarding a partner’s unfaithfulness.
  3. Unwanted Violent Thoughts: Intrusive and repetitive thoughts of a violent nature, which are often distressing and unwanted.
  4. Heightened Awareness of Body Sensations: An acute focus on minor bodily functions and sensations, such as slight movements, blinking, or breathing.
  5. Intrusive Unwanted Images: Persistent presence of unwanted and often distressing images in one’s mind.
  6. Repeated Worry About Contamination: Ongoing concerns about being contaminated by germs, dirt, or other perceived pollutants.
  7. Irritability: Increased irritability or frustration, often as a result of the ongoing stress and anxiety caused by these obsessions.

These symptoms are characterized by their repetitive and intrusive nature, significantly impacting a person’s daily life and causing considerable distress.

The compulsive symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are actions driven by the persistent and intrusive thoughts characteristic of the disorder. These compulsions are typically repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession. Key compulsive symptoms include:

  1. Repeated Counting or Phrasing: Engaging in repetitive counting or uttering specific phrases or words, often in a ritualistic manner.
  2. Touching or Cleaning Rituals: Compulsively touching or cleaning items a specific number of times, driven by an underlying obsession (such as fear of contamination).
  3. Seeking Reassurance: A need for constant reassurance from others to alleviate distress or anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts.
  4. Strict Orderliness: An overwhelming need to arrange items in a precise manner or sequence. Deviating from this order can cause significant distress.
  5. Excessive Washing: Compulsively washing hands or body a certain number of times, often linked to fears of germs or contamination.

What are the Causes of OCD?

There is no precise cause of OCD. However, certain factors can play a role. These are

Family History:- People who have family members with OCD are more likely to get it. This risk increases when it’s a close family member.

Brain/Hormonal Imbalances:- OCD has been linked to serotonin imbalances in the brain. This is the hormone responsible for regulating sleep and mood.

Who is More Likely to Have OCD?

Age:- OCD can begin at any time from preschool to 40 years. However, it’s more common among young adults and teenagers.

Medical Condition:- The presence of other mental health issues can also be a contributing factor. People suffering from depression, bipolar disorders, etc.. are more likely to have OCD.

Trauma/Extreme Stress:- Extreme stress relating to work or personal life makes a person more likely to have OCD.

Childhood Abuse:- People who had a tough or traumatic childhood have a greater chance of developing OCD. Brain injury and childhood acute neuropsychiatric symptoms are also contributing factors.

How Can You Manage OCD in a Child?

OCD symptoms in children might be slightly different. It’s also more difficult to spot these symptoms as they may appear milder in children.

The symptoms in children might cut across the different classifications for OCD. Tics are also early signs of OCD in children.

If you suspect your child is developing OCD, please contact your doctor immediately.

What's the Difference Between OCD and OCPD?

OCD and OCPD are fundamentally different. While OCD involves obsessions and compulsions, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder(OCPD) is more about control and attaining perfection.

OCPD is characterized by the need to follow rules and orders, inflexibility towards morals/ethics, and extreme perfectionism.

How Is OCD Diagnosed?

An OCD diagnosis is usually done by a mental health expert. You can expect questions on

  • The length and frequencies of your obsessions and compulsions
  • Your reaction and management of these impulses
  • The impact they have had on your daily activities
  • Family history of OCD
  • Your view of these obsessions and compulsions

It’s normal for your doctor to run some tests to rule out other physical conditions or issues. They might also ask you about any current medications.

Because OCD shares similar symptoms with other mental health issues, misdiagnosis can happen.

Thus, your mental health expert needs all the necessary information for an accurate diagnosis.

What are the Likely Treatments for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Therapy:- Therapy usually involves psychotherapy. The treatment’s main aim is to rewire your thought process. Most doctors will use the exposure and prevention method to help you control your compulsions. Other methods used include cognitive behavior therapy(CBT).

Medication:- Medications that focus on serotonin in the body are useful against OCD. These medications are referred to as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors(SSRI). Popular ones include sertraline, fluoxetine, and citalopram. These drugs usually need to be taken for at least 2 months to see improvement. Other antipsychotic drugs like risperidone can also help.

Home Remedies:- While they do not cure OCD, home remedies can help you handle your condition better. Some of them are

  • Exercising regularly
  • Doing yoga or meditating
  • Sleeping better
  • Eating healthier
  • Reading more about your condition

Is OCD Curable?

OCD has no known cure. However, symptoms can improve with treatment. So, to be able to properly manage your condition, starting treatment early is important.

Call New Hope Healthcare Institute Today!

If you or someone you know is struggling with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), it’s crucial to seek help and support. OCD can be managed with proper treatment, therapy, and support from healthcare professionals. Don’t hesitate to reach out to New Hope Healthcare today for help and start the journey towards a healthier, more manageable life. Call us at 866-806-1027 to ask how we can help!

 

FAQs

OCD is a mental health condition characterized by repetitive urges, sensations, or thoughts that are unwanted and compel a person to repeat certain actions. These repetitive urges and thoughts are known as obsessions, while the repeated actions are termed compulsions.

Individuals with OCD often experience significant stress and anxiety due to their condition. They may feel compelled to perform repetitive rituals to relieve tension, and can also experience feelings of depression and shame.

OCD can be categorized into four main types:

  • Unwanted/Repetitive Thoughts: Characterized by intrusive and often distressing thoughts.
  • Contamination: Involves fears of germs or dirt, leading to compulsive cleaning.
  • Repeated Checking: Involves repeatedly checking things like alarms, locks, etc.
  • Ordering and Symmetry: Desire for orderliness and symmetry.

Symptoms include constant worry, unwanted violent thoughts, excessive awareness of body sensations, persistent images, and repetitive worries about contamination or orderliness. Compulsions may involve repeated counting, excessive cleaning, or needing reassurance from others.

The exact cause is unknown, but factors like family history, brain or hormonal imbalances, and environmental influences may contribute.

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