Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety-like disorder that confines people by recurring thoughts and behaviors. People with obsessive compulsive disorder become restless due to repetitive and stressful thoughts, fears or images that they cannot control. The anxiety created by such thoughts and fears causes some rituals or compulsions to be performed urgently in order to relax.
These rituals and compulsions stop the anxiety temporarily. Once the obsessive thoughts have recurred, the person must repeat rituals and compulsions. This OCD cycle mostly prevent the person from doing normal daily work. People with obsessive compulsive disorder may be aware that their obsessions and are unreal or irrational, but they cannot control themselves.
Common symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder are fear of possibility of having microbic infections, afraid of damaging someone, fear of making mistakes and being disgraced or unacceptable socially, fearing from evil or sinful thinking, excessive need for order, symmetry and perfection.
Common compulsive indications are repeated rituals of washing hands or showering, refusing to handshake or even touching the door knocker, checking locks and hobs over a period of time, continuous counting from while doing routine work, eating according to a specific order, repeating specific words, sentences or phrases, need to make a certain number of jobs in order to accept t completed, collecting or accumulating things that are not valuable.
There is no common and exact reason of obsessive compulsive disorder found yet. But, some recent studies have shown that biological and environmental factors may be associated with OCD. Biological factors may cause OCD. The brain is a complex structure. There are billions of nerve cells called neurons, required for normal functioning of the body. Neurons are communicating with each other through electrical signals. Neurotransmitters help to transmit these signals between the neurons. Studies have determined a relation between the level of neurotransmitter serotonin and the occurrence of of OCD. There is also evidence showing serotonin imbalance has passed from the parent to the child. Due to these indications it is thought by some scientists that obsessive-compulsive disorder may be genetic.
According to some researches, a relationship between a certain type of infection caused by Streptococcus bacteria and OCD was found. If children have this infection and if it is not treated, OCD can occur.
Some environmental stress-inducing factors can also trigger obsessive compulsive disorders. Some external factors, like abuse, vital changes, severe diseases, death of a loved one, changes or problems related to work or school may worsen this condition.
Despite all the possibilities and opportunities of modern life, people are living in most stressful environment and there is a huge variety of external stress sources. Thus, the number of people having OCD is increasing day by day. According to the recent researches in the United States, there are more than 3.3 million adults and 1 million children and young people having OCD in the US. There are no racial or socioeconomic differences causing a difference in the proportions of men and women having OCD. There is no laboratory test for done to diagnose OCD. The doctors, especially the psychiatrists and psychologists, are diagnosing the patient by evaluating the patient’s symptoms, including the time the patient has separated for the ritual. OCD is not a psychologic disorder that disappears when you feel yourself better. It is required to be treated. Medication and cognitive behavior therapy are the most common treatment methods.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to ensure that people with obsessive compulsive disorder to face with their fear and anxiety, and to reduce their rituals via confrontation. This therapy focuses on reducing exaggerated and catastrophic thoughts commonly seen in those having OCD.
Drug therapy is another treatment method. Tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be helpful in the treatment of OCD. Elocctroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and neurosurgery can also be implemented in the cases where patients do not respond to medication and cognitive behavior therapy.
As a result of continuous therapy and medical treatment, patients succeed to have normal or near normal life.