What is OCD ?? Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder in which you have unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to engage in repetitive behaviors (compulsions). OCD is categorized as an Anxiety Disorder.
What are some possible causes of OCD ?? The cause of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder isn’t fully understood but there are some main theories. 1) Biology- some scientists believe that OCD may be a result of changes in ones body’s own natural chemistry or brain functions. 2) Environment- some scientist believe that OCD stems from ones behavior-related habits that have been learned over time. 3) Insufficient Serotonin- some scientists believe that an insufficient level of serotonin may contribute to the development of OCD.
What are some common risk factors ?? Factors that may increase the risk of developing or triggering obsessive compulsive disorder include: Family History- having parents or other family members with the disorder may increase ones chance of developing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Stressful Life Events- if you tend to get stressful easily, your risk of developing OCD increase.
What are some possible complications ?? Some complications that obsessive compulsive disorder may cause or be associated with include: Suicidal thoughts and behavior Alcohol or substance abuse Other anxiety disorders Depression Eating disorder Inability to attend work or school Troubled relationships Overall poor quality of life
What are some treatments and drugs used to help people with OCD ?? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may be difficult to treat. One may never be cured and treatment may be lifelong. However, OCD treatment may help one bring symptoms under control. 2 main treatments include: Psychotherapy- a type of therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be the most effective form of therapy for people with OCD. Cognitive behavioral therapy involves retraining ones thought patterns and routines so that compulsive behaviors are no longer necessary. Medications- Certain psychiatric medications are thought to help people with OCD. Some of these antidepressants include: Prozac, Zoloft, and Anafranil.
Coping and Support Here are some ways to help cope with OCD: Join a support group- talking to other people who suffer from OCD can help you feel like your not alone. It can also help you reach out to others facing similar challenges. Stay focused on your goals- staying motivated on specific goals can help you manage your illness by controlling the obsessions and compulsions as well. Find healthy outlets- find ways to channel your energy into recreational activities or hobbies.
What tests are associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ?? Some tests associated with OCD include: Physical Exam- this may include measuring height and weight, checking vital signs, blood pressure and temperature, listening to your heart and lungs, and examining your abdomens. Laboratory Tests- a complete blood count, screening for alcohol and drugs, and a check of your thyroid function. Psychological Evaluation- A doctor or mental health advisor will talk to the patient about their thoughts , feelings, and behavior patterns.
How do you know that you have OCD ?? Psychologists and psychiatrists consider behavior disordered when it is deviant, distressful, and dysfunctional. Deviant varies with context and culture. So if one has obsessions and compulsions that are deviant, distressful, and dysfunctional (as in interfering with regular living) then they most likely have OCD.
Other Facts OCD is more common than schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and panic disorders according to the National Institute of Mental Health; but is still commonly overlooked by mental health professionals and people who currently have obsessive compulsive disorder.
Admitting that I have OCD It took me a long time before I could admit to my disorder. I thought of every excuse as to why I had repetitive thoughts and compulsions such as: washing my hands repeatedly organizing my room into neat stacks checking and rechecking my doors avoiding each crack on the floor.
My First OCD: Washing My Hands Every morning I wake up and wash my hands. Before I eat I wash my hands. Before I go anywhere I wash my hands. Its horrible. Although I know they are germ free, my hands still feel dirty no matter how many times I clean and scrub and scrap. I try so hard to wash them once and move on, but I just cant seem to overcome this problem.
My Second OCD: Organization My room is spotless. I get upset when everything isn’t orderly. I hate the feeling I get when something is out of place or when a pile is off centered. It dictates my life. I’m constantly wishing that one day I will wake up and not care if my room is a mess. But one can only wish.
My Third OCD: Checking My Doors I close each door before I go to bed. Then I tap each door a second time to insure that they are truly closed. I plan to go to bed at 12 and I end up checking doors until 1 in the morning. I’m always exhausted and in fear of the door not being completely closed. Having this ailment eats me inside out. It controls every aspect of my life.
My Fourth And Final Major OCD: Avoiding Cracks I cant walk at a normal pace anymore. I check to see where each foot lands on the pavement before I let it hit the ground. I avoid every crack that is visible. I cant even walk beside my friends comfortably anymore. I hate not being able to get up from a chair, and walk across the room comfortably.
My Family My family is very understanding of my disorder. I can tell that they get frustrated sometimes, but they understand that I cant help it. They know that I do my best to control my obsessions and compulsions. They are always attempting to get my mind off of my obsessions and helping me act like a normal 17 year old. It would be so hard without them.
My Coping Techniques I tried Prozac and Zoloft but they didn’t seem to help at all. If anything, they only made my disorder worse because it made me feel like I had no control at all. I hated having to wake up each morning and take a bunch of pills. It made me feel like I was crazy or something, which I am definitely not. I have a problem, yes, but I am not a lunatic. So the pills just were not the way to go. I try to cope by taking one day at a time. Controlling my thoughts and actions one at a time also. It seems to work out ok.
My Therapy I go to therapy once a week. We discuss my 4 main OCD’s that dictate my life. usually through making goals, I maintain order and control my problem. I get embarrassed when my friends learn that I have to go to a therapist, but that’s just something that I have to deal with. OCD is a constant struggle, but I will continue to fight it until the end.