Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Understanding OCD
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is one of the more widely known but also one of the most misunderstood types of anxiety disorder. People with OCD, are not crazy, they simply have an unrelenting behavior that upsets their daily lives. OCD ranges from very mild to severe. It has been suggested that we all have OCD, but it is simply a matter of controlling our thoughts and actions so that we are able to live a normal life.
As its name implies OCD has two main components—the obsession and the compulsion. The obsession is usually a fear or desire, such as the fear of contamination or the desire to be perfect. They often take the form of obsessive or recurring intrusive thoughts.
Some common obsessions are:
Perfectionism – where the sufferer constantly checks for their own errors or mistakes.
Ordering – items must be placed in a particular spot or order
Fear of contamination –the touching of an item or the shaking of hands leads to the need to constantly wash their hands.
Superstition – particularly related to numbers, such as 13 being unlucky, or having to step over cracks in the pavement.
But aren’t we all superstitious at some time or other, or don’t we sometimes prefer things in their proper place? So what makes these into OCD? According to experts, if the compulsion becomes time consuming (taking up more than an hour and day) and results in marked anxiety attack symptoms this would then warrant the diagnosis of OCD.
The compulsion is the repetitive behavior that results from the obsession. It is the irresistible urge to perform an irrational task. For example, if there is a fear that a loved one will die if they don’t count everything to a certain number they will feel the compulsion to count to that number. Obsessions and compulsions are relieved with rituals, which in turn temporarily help to relieve the stress.
Although many people joke that they have OCD when they are being overly picky about cleaning or doing something odd, severe OCD is nothing to laugh at. A severe sufferer of this condition will probably not be able to go to work or school, live alone, drive, or perhaps even go out in public.
OCD is a chronic condition, although many people will try to hide their symptoms from others. Most people with this debilitating condition understand that they are being irrational, but they just cannot help their compulsion. They find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle.
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A hundred or so years ago OCD was diagnosed as ‘doubting sickness’ – a good description even today. For example you doubt that you locked the front door but you don’t just go back and check it, you have to constantly hear the lock clicking as you turn the key. Stopping this ritual brings back the doubt and the anxiety.
So what causes OCD to develop? While many originally thought it was due to childhood environmental conditions there are no definitive answers and many theories abound.
Research has shown that a specific neurological problem may be the root of the cause. Tests carried out using a technique called positron emission tomography (PET) showed that the brains of OCD sufferers differed from other brains. It is likely that more than one factor is at work and, although there are successful treatments, there are no real known cures to OCD.
Scientists at Prince Henry’s Institute, a leading Australian Institute in hormone research, discovered that the lack of oestrogen is a possible link to obsessive compulsive disorder.
Getting help is important. With medication, behavioral therapy and counseling, patients with OCD can begin to lead a more normal life once again. Talking to your doctor about your OCD concerns is the first step. At the very least, talk to an understanding friend. They may be able to help you to take the right steps towards treating your OCD and the related symptoms that accompany this often debilitating disorder.
Your solution may lie just ahead. Read and listen to the wonderful worldwide testimonials from sufferers of OCD and anxiety attacks that Panic Away has successfully helped over the years. With a little hard work and patient understanding from those around you there is no reason for you not to overcome your Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Take a look at these sites also Natural Remedies and Treatment Options for OCD.