Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

“Did I leave the stove on?” “Did I lock the door?” “Is the iron unplugged?”

These are some of the questions that people ask themselves during the day. Certain levels of anxiety regarding everyday problems are normal. Usually, checking once or twice can dispel these concerns, enabling people to go on with their day.

Image source: medscape.com
However, if this becomes excessive and people cannot help but worry, it can interfere with their daily lives.

This is a sign of OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder. It is an anxiety disorder that causes unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) or repetitive, ritualized behaviors (compulsions).

The obsessions are images or impulses that enter the head over and over again, and most of the time, the patient cannot block it out. These thoughts can go beyond just wondering if there are tasks that he forgot to accomplish or being anxious about misplaced or improper arrangement of objects. There are instances that these thoughts are frightening or upsetting images. Also these can be urges to do something that he does not want to do.

The compulsions are the recurring behaviors or rituals that are aimed toward making the obsessions go away or prevent it from happening. The patient will repeat these compulsions over and over until they believe that the threat has already been averted.

Image source: thequint.com
OCD is a chronic issue and can be disruptive and perilous for those who are suffering from it, and, sometimes, even those around them. There are many treatment forms for it; with cognitive/behavioral therapy being one of the most effective.

Jonathan Lauter, M.D. is a psychiatrist and fellow of the American Psychiatric Association who specializes in the treatment of neurobehavioral disorders in children, teens, and adults. Visit this link to read more about mental health.