Are you a person who constantly worries about something, probably the same thing, over and over again?
For instance, checking if the doors are locked repeatedly, even after making sure several times? Are you a stickler for perfection, often to the point of it becoming an obsession? Things not may be all that great for you if you have theses symptoms. You may be suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But to understand what it is, lets get to know the meaning of the two words in combination that make this a disorder.
What are obsessions? Obsessions are ideas, images and impulses that run through a person's mind repeatedly. A person with OCD tries to filter out these thoughts and finds them disturbing, but he or she can't control them. Sometimes these thoughts come just occur rarely, and are only mildly disturbing. In other cases a person who has OCD may have obsessive thoughts all the time.
What are compulsions? Obsessive thoughts make people suffering from OCD feel nervous and afraid. They try to get rid of these feelings by pertaining to certain "rules" that they make up for themselves. Such behaviors are called compulsions. (Compulsive behaviors are also called rituals.) For example, a person who suffers OCD may have obsessive fears about germs. Because of these fixations, the person may wash his or her hands repeatedly. Repeating these rituals usually only suppresses the nervous feelings for a short time. When the fear and nervousness rebound, the person who has OCD repeats the routine again.
The following are some common obsessions:
1.Constant fear of dirt or germs or anything unhygienic.Disgust with bodily waste or fluids, including their own is also seen.
2.Obsession with order, symmetry (balance) and exactness.
3.Fear that a task has been executed poorly, even if this is not the case.
4.Fear of thinking ‘evil’ or ‘sinful’ thoughts, especially prevalent among those who are strictly adhering to religious beliefs.
5.Thinking about certain sounds, images, words or numbers all the time.
6.Need for constant reassurance.
7.Fear of harming a family member or friend.
Common compulsive behaviors in OCD are mentioned below:
Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, and switches.
Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe.
Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.
Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning.
Ordering or arranging things to make them perfect.
Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear.
Accumulating “junk” such as old newspapers or empty food containers, or even used wrappers and foils.
What causes OCD?
A single, proven cause for OCD, has not yet been found, despite extensive research. Some research shows that it maybe closely associated with chemicals in the brain that carry messages from one nerve cell to another. One of these chemicals, called Serotonin, helps to keep people from performing obsessive compulsive behavior. A person who has OCD may not have the required level of Serotonin. Many people who have OCD can function better when they take medication that increase the amount of Serotonin in their brain.
How is OCD treated?
Combining therapy with medication is usually considered the most effective way to treat OCD. Several medicines are available to treat OCD. The medication that are also used to treat depression can be used and include: clomipramine, fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine and fluvoxamine. However, these drugs can cause side effects such as dry mouth, nausea and drowsiness. Sometimes they also have sexual side effects. It may be several weeks before you see an improvement in your behavior even after medication.
Under the guidance of a trained therapist, behavioral therapy can also be an alternate way to treat OCD. In behavioral therapy, people sometimes face situations that cause or trigger past obsessions and anxiety. Then they are encouraged not to perform the rituals that usually help control their nervous feelings. For example, a person who is obsessed with germs might be encouraged to use a public toilet and wash his or her hands just once.
To use this method, a person who has OCD must be able to tolerate the high levels of anxiety that can result from the experience.
Helping someone suffering From OCD
Avoid making personal criticisms.
Remember, your loved one’s OCD behaviors are symptoms, not character flaws.
Don’t scold someone with OCD or tell them to stop performing rituals. They can’t adjust with the idea, and the pressure to stop will only make the behavior worse.
Do not play along with your loved one’s OCD rituals. Helping with OCD rituals will only reinforce the behavior.
Support the person, don't condone their rituals.
Keep communication positive and clear.
Communication is important. It helps you find a balance between supporting your loved one and standing up to the OCD, hence relieving your loved one.
Find the humor. Laughing together over the funny side and absurdity of some OCD symptoms can actually help your loved one become more detached from the disorder. Just ensure he or she feels respected and in on the joke.