Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a type of mental illness characterized by obsessive thinking and repeated compulsive behaviors.
OCD can happen to anyone – men, women, adults, adolescents, or even children. OCD symptoms usually start to appear during the puberty phase.
Obsessions and compulsions can involve many different things – such as counting of things, being obsessed with personal hygiene, or having intrusive thoughts about sex, religion, violence.
Although OCD is not dangerous, the symptoms can interfere with one’s daily activities. Therapy and appropriate treatment can help sufferers recover from OCD.
Causes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The exact cause of OCD symptoms is still unknown. However, there are many mixed factors that can cause a person to become obsessive compulsive. These factors include:
- Family history. OCD can be a genetic disorder. When a family member has OCD, other family members have the potential to suffer from the same condition.
- Brain abnormalities. Some people with OCD have certain areas of unusually high activity in the brain or low levels of a chemical called serotonin.
- Stressful life events. Many people with OCD have had certain experiences in their life, such as experiencing bullying, violence, or being ignored. In some cases, OCD may also occur after experiencing important events such as childbirth or a bereavement
- Personality traits. People with neat and conscientious personalities are more likely to develop OCD. The same applies to people that have high levels of anxiety and intense feelings of responsibility.
All of the factors above are the underlying causes for some patients developing OCD. However, at present, doctors are still unable to confirm the exact cause of OCD.
When to See a Doctor for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
OCD can be treated by a psychiatrist. OCD is a symptom of mental illness.
You can consult a general practitioner first. After confirming your symptoms and condition, the general practitioner will refer you to a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist will help determine how you develop OCD and what triggers the symptoms. The psychiatrist will also enquire about your medical history.
Apart from seeing a psychiatrist, OCD can also be treated with psychological therapy.
Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
People with OCD usually have persistent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Obsessions and compulsions are two different things. There are times when people with OCD have obsessive thoughts, but not necessarily compulsive behavior, and vice versa.
- Obsessions are unwanted and unpleasant images, thoughts, or urges that repeatedly enter the mind. These thoughts cause anxiety, disgust, or feelings of discomfort.
- Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person with OCD feels driven to do. When the person performs these actions, they will feel calmer and the unpleasant feelings are temporarily relieved. This behavior is triggered by obsessions.
For example, someone who has an obsession with the fear of theft will find it necessary to lock windows and doors many times before they leave the house.
Women have the potential to experience OCD during pregnancy or after they give birth. The obsession may include worrying about harming the baby and failing to sterilize milk bottles properly. As for the compulsive act, it may consist of repeatedly checking in on the baby.
Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
There are several OCD treatment types that can help the sufferer continue with his/her daily activities without disturbance or interruptions:
- Psychological therapy. OCD therapy is generally given through cognitive-behavioral therapy — a type of psychotherapy that combines cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. This therapy can help people with OCD deal with fear and negative thoughts without compulsions
- Medications. Antidepressants can be an option to treat OCD. The type of antidepressant used for OCD sufferers is called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI). This medicine can help change the balance of chemical levels in the sufferer’s brain.
- Exposure response prevention therapy. This therapy encourages you to face your fears.This can be done either individually or in groups.
Both therapy and medication consumption require a long time to cure OCD. OCD patients and the people around them must be patient and willing to help the patient get through the treatment process to speed up the recovery.
There are several side effects of taking OCD medications, such as nausea, dry mouth, and suicidal thoughts. These side effects can be avoided with appropriate treatment and support from your loved ones.
Treatment Cost for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The cost for OCD treatment varies, depending on the treatment applied and the patient’s recovery period.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
At present, doctors are still uncertain as to what causes a person to develop OCD symptoms. The symptoms vary from person to person. Therefore, there are no exact preventive measures for OCD.
The most simple thing you can do to prevent OCD is to avoid things that can trigger a recurrence of OCD symptoms. Sufferers are able to recognize what causes obsessive thinking and makes them act compulsively.
In general, children or adolescents with OCD do not know what triggers their OCD. That is why parents and teachers have an important role to play.
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a mental illness condition. For people with OCD, It is important to regularly eat healthy foods that can improve one’s mood. When you are hungry, the sugar level in your body lowers. As a result, it is easier for you to feel irritated and angry.
In addition, home treatment for OCD patients also includes getting enough rest or sleep. Anxiety usually causes someone to stay up late. However, sleep is actually the most effective solution for sufferers of mental illness. Therefore, it is advised that you maintain a proper sleep cycle.