18:57 EST, 30 September 2013
18:57 EST, 30 September 2013
Obsessed: In the American film As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson plays the role of an obsessive compulsive novelist, who makes it a point to eat lunch at the same table each day and always brings his own cutlery
It could begin with something as small as your child always lining up the toy trucks in a certain order and getting frustrated when even one of them stands out of line.
It could also be that he keeps writing, re-writing and checking up on his homework, with no time left for any play.
Either you could admire the trait by writing it off as perfectionism, or you could admit the possibility of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and seek professional help.
If OCD is there in the picture, seeking help early on is crucial. The sooner you do that, the better it
Most adults with OCD are characterised by their fetish
for washing hands, keeping checks on the locked doors, negative
thoughts, and having clothes stacked in the right angle in the closet.
these are common, the symptoms of OCD can be varied. The condition occurs when
the stress inside you builds up to a thought, resulting in a behaviour.
“OCD is basically an
anxiety disorder, where obsession occurs first (which is basically
recurrent thoughts). This in turn, gives rise to compulsive behaviour.
There are those who are patients of chronic ODDs (since childhood) and
then people with acute ODDs (those who suffer from it for a few months).
“OCD requires sustained efforts to keep it in control, as once you are off medicines it may return too. You
need a continuous support system to help manage the disorder,” says
Aakriti Gupta, clinical psychologist, BLK Super-speciality Hospital.
A common problem
OCD is a common problem that mostly hits during adolescence or mid 20s.
“It’s a disorder that affects 2-4 per cent of the population globally,” says Gupta.
illness appears harmless in It is not just an unhygienic habit, the
American Psychiatrist Association’s Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of
Mental Disorders (also known as the bible for psychiatry) is planning to
classify it as OCD.
This does not mean that all those who bite their nails are victims of OCD, but they can be categorised under this disorder depending upon the severity of the symptoms. the beginning but gradually results in a person being overcome by his obsessions with ensuring hygiene, symmetry, irrational fears and so on.
Depending on the obsession, the person may show compulsive behaviour. Hence, someone obsessed with doubt can spend hours cross-checking if the doors are locked and taps are closed.
“People get obsessed with lucky numbers and start performing tasks those number of times for good luck.
“Some have a weird tendency to hoard and pile up all unwanted things and don’t no allow anybody to touch them. They are called compulsive hoarders,” says Dr S Sudersanan, senior consultant, psychiatry, Rockland Hospital.
Doctors say that people with OCD tend to have poor-decision making skills.
“While some amount of perfection is welcome, OCD takes it to an unhealthy level. It results in a dysfunctional individual who is unable to perform his day-today activities,” says Gupta.
It can be triggered by many factors like environment or genes.
It can be in the genes
Genetic predisposition could be a reason, or it could be due to serotonin deficiency, a chemical substance in the brain, say studies.
“Then there are behavioural causes, when the mind gets conditioned to certain stimuli. Hence, the person keeps performing the act out of his habit despite knowing that it is a compulsive behaviour,” says Dr Rahul Chandhok, senior consultant, psychiatry, Fortis Hospital.
Also negative stressful events in the
past such as poor performance, failed relationship, or any event that
lowered one’s self-esteem could lead to OCD.
with ODDs are born with a predisposition to it but certain events or
lifestyle necessities can trigger off the disorder,” says Gupta.
first step towards the treatment of OCD could be terrifying. It can be hard to put
yourself out there when you are anxious and confused – but the journey
back to holistic well-being can only begin with proper diagnosis.
Doctors stress the need for more awareness of OCD.
OCD is all about controlling the symptoms with the medications,
therapies, patient’s will power and a positive family support,” says
Getting the right
help early on is the key. Treatment is generally a combination of
cognitive behavioural therapy and medications.
Cognitive behaviour therapy:
Treatment for OCD is about cognitive behaviour therapy, behaviour
therapy, medications, and relaxation techniques like breathing
exercises, or walking. It all begins with the thought. So psychiatrists
begin by trying to break the thought process.
Most drugs that help OCD are known as antidepressants. OCD is also
accompanied by other conditions like depression and other psychiatric
Bad habit: Nail-biting may soon be classified as an official symptom of OCD
Nail-biting: Not just a bad habit
It is not just an unhygienic habit, the American Psychiatrist Association’s Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders (also known as the bible for psychiatry) is planning to classify it as OCD.
This does not mean that all those who bite their nails are victims of OCD, but they can be categorised under this disorder depending upon the severity of the symptoms.
Did you know?
OCD and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) are two different conditions, one is a condition of anxiety (OCD) while the other is a personality trait (OCPD).
“People with both the disorders could be excessively engaged in tasks that require minute attention. For example, a person with OCD would keep making the list over and again, but the person with OCPD would justify it as a good strategy.
“People with OCD spend a great amount of time in making lists, or engaging in tasks than those with OCPD,” says Gupta.
Unlike OCPD, people with OCD are not rational.
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