Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a chronic and long lasting disorder where the affected person has continuous reoccurring thoughts and feels a constant uncontrollable urge to repeat particular behaviours. This is debilitating because the person, even though aware of their condition, finds it difficult to control themselves. People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school, and personal relationships.
Obsessions are thoughts and urges that occupy the mind, reoccurring so frequently that they cause anxiety. A person with uncommon behavior patterns like fear of contamination, aggressive recurring thoughts, unhealthy need to have things in symmetry and in perfect order, unwanted thoughts about taboo topics, exhibits symptoms of the first component of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Compulsions, second part of OCD, are repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to carry out in response to an obsessive thought. Some examples of Compulsive behaviors are repeatedly cleaning and washing hands in response to an irrational fear of germs, always rearranging their belongings in a particular way to be precise and perfect, repeatedly checking on particular actions like making sure the door is locked and the gas turned off, and compulsive counting.
People are said to have OCD if they spend at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts or behaviors, experiences problems due to these thoughts or behaviors, and can’t control their thoughts even when they are aware that the thoughts are excessive.
This disorder manifests in the early teens. Scientists and psychologists have studied thousands of people with OCD and discovered that a person has more chances of developing this disorder if a close relative has suffered from it. If the close relative has had OCD since teenage then there’s a 60 percent possibility that the concerned person will develop signs of OCD in their teenage years too. Some individuals with OCD also have a motor tic disorder which is characterized by sudden, brief, repetitive movements, such as eye blinking, facial contortions, shoulder shrugging, and head jerking.
OCD is treatable by medication and psychotherapy, though the patient may still experience the symptoms. This disorder needs immediate medical attention as it can lead to other mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. If medicines have been prescribed it is very important to take them regularly and always consult a doctor before taking them, never self medicate. Psychotherapy is very important too. Sometimes when people don’t respond to medicine, psychotherapy proves to be more therapeutic.
Symptoms may come and go, ease over time, or worsen. People with OCD may try to help themselves by avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions, or they may use alcohol or drugs to calm themselves. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing doesn’t make sense, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary. Parents or teachers typically recognize OCD symptoms in children. It falls to the caregivers and loved ones to understand OCD and help the affected person overcome the disorder.