The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Could this be the latest widespread anxiety disorder of the 21st century? So it seems, at least in the United States. 3.3 million people have OCD, which means 2.3% of the population between ages 18-54. It usually breaks out between ages 6-15 in males and 20-29 in females. About a third of the affected population reported linking their disorder to the early years of childhood and it is believed that many other people present the OCD symptoms, but choose to hide them. Apart from genetics, which represents a big factor for the existence of the obsessive-compulsive disorder, and recurrent habits developed in childhood, there also are some other important triggers, closely tied to the way we live our lives today: stress, lack of sleep and anxiety. OCD’s symptoms are well known: recurrent habits, such as continually washing hands, arranging objects or counting, caused by the belief that they are vital to one’s well-being and that if not performed, something bad is going to happen. If performed, the person has a poignant feeling of guilt for repeatedly falling into the same behavioural pattern. Therefore, the question becomes: why is this disorder so pervasive, specifically in our time? Could OCD be our brain’s response to the need to be more relaxed and enjoy life more?
An alternative approach: yoga and meditation
The conventional way of treating OCD is medication, along with therapy. Nonetheless, patients never actually recover and what they do, in fact, is providing chemical substances to the brain, in order to create a balance that had been disturbed for various reasons, which conventional medicine does not go deeply into. It just seeks to treat the consequences. But how could someone have a good understanding of certain effects, if they don’t even know the causes? Nowadays, practising yoga or meditation, together with confessional therapy, is thought to help the individual connect his body, mind and soul and discover the sensation of oneness. Yoga is not a new practice among educated people and its benefits have become widely known not long ago in the 20th century. For those who are not familiar to it, it consists of adopting certain body positions in a peaceful atmosphere, which would allow the mind to concentrate on oneself only. This is, for some, the key to coming at ends with their anxieties, because OCD is an anxiety disorder. Yoga leads to meditation, meaning a simple procedure of blocking thoughts and focusing on the environment and trying to integrate as a small part of an endless universe, because that is what we all are, eventually. Going to the roots of this disorder is quintessential for treating it: finding out the precise reason for repetitive behaviours is one step forward towards finding a solution to it. Before resorting to taking medication, it is important to keep in mind that there might be other milder cures, for the main cause of your OCD might not be something that bad, there might just be the anxiety of the daily routine.
In the end, it is important to remind that OCD being so widespread today is an alarming signal. There must be something in our daily lifestyles that causes it, because for what we know, many changes happened in the last years only. Being busy and continually on the lookout for success does not always make us at ease and comfortable, so the mind seeks some outlets, exteriorising the inner anxieties. The reason behind them must be researched and it’s only within oneself that answers and solutions can be found.