Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a disabling anxiety disorder that causes
millions of people worldwide to be locked in a daily routine of unwanted ritual and obsession that completely
overtakes their life.
People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have persistent thoughts that become
disturbing, and use ‘rituals’ as a way of controlling them. The problem is these obsessive rituals can take over
their life, and govern their behavior every day affecting men, women, and children in equal number, with the onset
of OCD usually occurring by young adulthood.
Someone with OCD can’t do anything without rituals. They invade every aspect of their life.
For instance, a person with mild OCD might be fixated on counting, and find they have to wash their hair three
times instead of once because the number three was a ‘good luck number’ or count the lines of every paragraph they
read in a book, or set the alarm at night to a number that wasn’t ‘bad.’
These people with obsessive compulsive disorder know the rituals are irrational – but find it
hard to stop doing them because the act of the ritual puts an end to their anxiety caused by the obsessive
thinking. Unlike others in society who might have pleasant obsessions about hobbies or sports, people with OCD
derive no pleasure whatsoever form their behavior. It is simply a means to an end of their
anxiety.But sometimes the obsessions can be extremely distressing. A young mother
with severe OCD for example might find herself obsessively thinking she is going to harm her children. She will get
up in the middle of the night because of the worry, and remove the cords from her children’s dressing gowns, and
tie them in knots to ensure they couldn’t cause her children any danger. She will get back into bed, but then
obsess again about the cords. She will then get up again and put those cords in black bags and secure the bags
tightly before locking them in a cupboard.
Again, the ritual of looking for ways to make sure her children were safe was a way of
controlling the obsessive thoughts that she was somehow going to harm them. The thoughts would obviously be
distressing, and cause great anxiety in a young parent. But without knowing what else to do, that person with
obsessive compulsive disorder is compelled to act in this way.
Obsessive thoughts are different from the ‘real-life’ worries other people might have about
their marriage, or bad grades at school, or losing their job, and in most cases the thoughts of a person with OCD
are not usually related to any real-life problems.
According to Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders the most common fears for an
OCD-sufferer include fear of contamination, doubts about whether they have done something, an intense need to put
things in a certain order, aggressive or frightening impulses, recurrent sexual thoughts, or images.
The most common compulsions in Western countries are - washing/cleaning, counting, hoarding,
checking, putting objects in a certain order, repeated “confessing” or asking others for assurance, repeated
actions, and making lists.
One study of patients with obsessive compulsive disorder has revealed that the most common
obsessions were about un-cleanliness (45%), and feelings of guilt (42%). The most clinically common compulsions
were checking/controlling (63%), and cleaning/washing (37%).
Although reports of people with the characteristics of OCD stretch back to the fifteenth
century in some religious and psychiatric texts, and Freud made a note of a “obsessive-compulsive neurosis,” in
1913, it is only since 1980 that extensive research was conducted placing obsessive compulsive disorder as the
fourth most common psychiatric illness after phobias, alcohol and drug misuse, and major depression. Even so, the
causes are still something of a mystery, and it is believed that OCD is derived from a combination of
psychological, neurobiological, environmental, and possibly genetic influences.
Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive
symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder are usually witnessed during childhood or early adulthood, but are
a mental health condition that is equally prevalent in males and females. The symptoms are wide, and varied,
but never less than distressing for millions of people worldwide. Read
Causes of Obsessive Compulsive
Checkers, Doubters, Sinners, Counters, Arrangers, Hoarders - no one likes to be labeled, but if you have been
diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder it is likely you fall into one those categories. Find out what
are the causes of obsessive compulsive disorder. Read More...
Treatments for Obsessive Compulsive
obsessive compulsive disorder a debilitating disability, but the good news is it can be treated. Find out
what are the treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder which can help alleviate and even cure this mental
state that is said to be one of the most common of all psychiatric illnesses found in both adults and
children. Read More...