Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry


OCD – What It Is and How It Affects Us

For normal people, double checking something is a trivial task, but people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder cannot move forward without these repeated checks. Perhaps this is the most observed effect among people with OCD – the need to perform rituals and routines even if it becomes a hindrance to doing things of greater importance. This sets the premise for what most people know as obsession.

The obsession that brings about a stream of uncontrollable thoughts, impulses and images cannot be stopped even if the affected wants to and thus, creating a nuisance that is both disturbing and distracting but must be undergone in order to relieve the mind of it.

However, the relief is not permanent and will often persist in reduced time intervals.  In fact, in most cases, it can be too persistent that it prompts for a repetition of routines and rituals. This driven repetitive behavior constitutes compulsion, which causes further distress and anxiety as routines become more time-consuming and demanding.

The condition is known to show signs during childhood until the early 30s and is less likely to manifest in people who are 35 and above. More than 2.2 million adults, in the United States alone, are affected by the disorder. Most of those who have OCD were diagnosed at the age of 19 without any inclinations toward gender. However, the diagnosis doesn’t come easily and it may not be apparent to most, with the exception of mental disorder specialists, since the symptoms tend to disappear and re-occur at different levels.

Those diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Behavior are often classified based on the routines that they end up repeating. Some of the most common are the washers, checkers, doubters and sinners, counter arrangers and hoarders.  The urge for doing these tasks is often brought about by fear.

For instance, a washer must constantly clean and wash his/her hands because of the fear of contamination. The same is true for the hoarders who are afraid that a catastrophe may occur when they discard items, which they neither use nor need.

Several complications arise in OCD sufferers due to the nature of the disorder, which includes, but not caused directly or limited to, eating disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, anxiety disorders and in the worst cases, the tendency to entertain suicidal thoughts. Therapy is, by far, the most popular and effective recourse. Group therapy, with the involvement of family and friends, is encouraged. Joining the therapy sessions can inform them of how to adjust and help the patient.



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