Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness in which the patients experience obsessive thoughts and urges or repetitive behavior. Unreasonable worries and obsessions (also known as compulsive behaviors) are signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder. A person with OCD may center on ideas like a dread of germs or the requirement to organize items in a certain way.

The good thing is studies have found several treatments, including medication and therapies, with positive effects. Read more about OCD symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and precautions.

What is OCD(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)?

Have you ever seen a person who keeps rearranging his/her things placed on a table or washes his/her hands multiple times after only touching some object? These are some of the common Obsessive Compulsive disorder symptoms. OCD is a serious medical illness that can not be cured completely. Under this condition, people face recurring unwanted thoughts, ideas, or sensations. These obsessive activities are beyond their control and lead to compulsive behavior.

Compulsion includes repetitive activities such as washing hands, checking for one’s belongings, or cleaning again and again. These can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities, job, and social interactions.

Types Of OCD:

Symptoms of OCD in adults may differ depending on the types of OCD they are dealing with. We should also know about the types of OCD. OCD is commonly divided into 5 categories such as-

  • Checking – The major symptoms of checking OCD include unnecessarily and frequently checking on things. It includes monitoring taps, alarms, car doors, house lights, and other appliances.
  • Contamination / Mental Contamination – This type of OCD occurs when a patient feels a constant and overbearing need to wash some object or his hands. In this case, people think that the object is contaminated or he/she will become ill unless repeated cleaning occurs.
  • Symmetry and order – In this obsessive-compulsive disorder, people tend to keep everything organized perfectly symmetrically. They have an obsessive fear of fixating on things in the right place. They do so to prevent any form of discomfort.
  • Ruminations / Intrusive Thoughts – Under this type of OCD, the patient may have obsessive thoughts that are monotonous, disturbing, and often horrific. For example, thoughts of causing violence.
  • Hoarding- Another type of OCD is hoarding. Patients with this type of OCD tend to throw away their used or meaningless possessions.

These are not the only types of OCD. The symptoms of obsessions and compulsions generally fall under these categories.

Potential Causes Of OCD – 

OCD can affect anybody, including men, women, or children of all age groups. OCD can get started from preschool to adulthood. It is estimated from the research that about 1 in 100 adults are suffering from OCD in the country.

The symptoms of OCD begin in childhood. This disorder is more common in boys than in girls. It can be caused by genetic, neurological, behavioral, cognitive, and environmental factors. Below is a list of factors and causes associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

  • Genetic Factors –

In research, it is stated that the symptoms of OCD can be inherited. This disorder runs in families and is known as a familial disorder.

  • Autoimmune Causes –

A few causes of OCD may be the consequences of Group A streptococcal infections. It causes inflammation and dysfunction in the basal ganglia. Knowing the causes can be beneficial to OCD treatment. This type of OCD can be improved with the help of OCD medication. 

  • Behavioral Causes – 

The person suffering from OCD will associate things and situations with persistent fear. Usually, the person tries to avoid situations instead of facing or confronting them.

  • Cognitive Causes –

The cognitive theory focuses on how people with OCD misinterpret their thoughts. They exaggerate those thoughts, overthink and vigorously try to ignore them.

  • Neurological Causes –

Researchers have used imaging techniques to study the activity of the brain. This has led to the result that some parts of the brain are different in OCD patients from a healthy normal person. It is also said that imbalances in the brain chemicals may play a major role in OCD.

  • Environment Causes –

  1. We all live in a specific type of environment. Stressful and traumatic life events lead to OCD disorders. A study stated that TBI is associated with an increased risk of obsessive compulsion

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms – 

It is believed that OCD is a result of abnormal circuitry function of the brain. Research stated that differences in the brain and genes could also be the reason for OCD. It tends to be a genetic disorder, and its symptoms start during childhood. However, Symptoms of OCD in adults are more persistent.

The nature of Obsessions forms compulsions. For example – a fear of short circuits in the house is an obsession, whereas the excessive repetitive checking of the electrical appliances is a compulsion.

Some common symptoms of OCD in adults are:

  • Fear of being contaminated by coming in contact with objects others have touched.
  • Have constant doubts about whether you’ve locked the door or turned off the stove and other electrical appliances.
  • Intense stress under various situations.
  • Fear of hurting yourself or others.
  • An uptight need to keep every object in its respective place.
  • Always being excessively aware of blinking, breathing, or other body sensations
  • Avoiding situations that can trigger obsessions, like shaking hands.

Other symptoms of Obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms are: 

  • Washing hands or bathing continuously
  • Doing every task in the same order
  • Repetitive checking out things
  • Keep a count on things like the number of steps or bottles.
  • Putting objects in the right position and a fear of losing that organization
  • Unnecessary fear of performing certain activities.

Usually, people don’t share these thoughts or fears with anyone because of embarrassment. But we should not ignore them. Consult your doctor and get proper treatment or medication to cure Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Diagnosis Techniques used for OCD –

If you find any symptoms of OCD, do consult your doctor to get the proper OCD treatment. Your physician will do your physical examination and ask for a blood test. With the help of a blood test report, the doctor makes sure that the symptoms of OCD are not caused by anything else.

Your physician will try to observe your thoughts, feelings, or habits through a communication process. There is an effective process to diagnose and treat OCD.

  • Physical examination – Physical examination is required to analyze the reasons for OCD symptoms. It will also help to figure out other complications.
  • Lab tests- Lab tests include thyroid function and screening for alcohol and drugs.
  • Psychological evaluation- Under this process, the doctor will try to evaluate the pattern of a patient’s thoughts, behavior, or feelings.

With the help of these tests and evaluations, the physician will come to know the patient’s exact condition.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatments – 

The available treatments for Obsessive-compulsive disorder may not be able to treat the disorder completely. But it can help to ease the symptoms. These treatments help you to live your life without the interruption of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder symptoms. There are different types of treatments, such as –

#1 Medication for OCD –

The most preferred OCD treatment is medication. Most doctors prefer to recommend antidepressants as medications for OCD. The FDA has approved many antidepressants for the treatment of OCD.

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)-

Fluoxetine is a well-known SSRI antidepressant known to help improve the symptoms of obsessive thoughts, such as washing compulsion and improving the quality of life. The OCD medication helps to relieve OCD symptoms. 

  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)-

Paroxetine is another kind of SSRI antidepressant. It is known to improve the symptoms of phobias and avoidance behavior in adults.

  • Sertraline (Zoloft)-

Sertraline is also a kind of SSRI antidepressant. Sertraline medication for OCD helps the patients by reducing their anxiety and fear and also improves the obsessive, phobic symptoms significantly. 

  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)-

Clomipramine is a type of tricyclic antidepressant OCD medication. However, because of its possible adverse side effects, like fatal cardiac difficulties, it usually is not a first-line treatment.

#2 Therapy for OCD –

Therapy for OCD may not provide a cure, but it can help keep symptoms under control so they don’t interfere with your everyday life. Usually, doctors recommend therapeutic approaches if medications for OCD don’t relieve the patient. 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)- 

CBT is a kind of psychotherapy that provides you with items that help you think, work and give a reaction to your unhealthy thoughts. It intends to swap out unproductive thoughts for positive ones.

  • Exposure and response prevention (ERP)- 

ERP is a kind of CBT. You’ll gradually get exposed to the factors that cause you anxiety. You’ll discover new techniques to deal with them instead of your ritualistic responses.

In some cases, OCD medication and psychotherapy are ineffective in curing OCD. Then your doctor will pick another treatment method, such as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Before starting the treatment, clear all your doubts with your doctor.

Safety Precautions And Home Remedies

OCD is a chronic disorder that will be part of your life. You would need to follow the medications even if you are feeling well. You should always have a plan to handle sudden changes in symptoms. Pay attention to the warning signs and immediately contact your doctor or therapist to overcome the condition.

Get a clear picture of your condition from your doctor. It will help you to understand the procedure and methods of treatment. Never hesitate to share your mental condition with the doctor or physician.

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