What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

[ Osunam Pertin ]
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have repetitive unwanted thoughts, ideas or feelings (obsessions) that force to do something repetitively (compulsions).
A diagnosis of OCD requires the presence of obsession and/or compulsions that are time-consuming (more than one hour a day), cause major distress, and impairment in personal, social or other important functions of everyday life activities. It often begins in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood; the average age for appearance of symptoms is 19 years.
” Obsessions
Obsessions are repetitive and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that arouse anxiety or disgust. Many people with OCD recognize that the thoughts, impulses are excessive or unreasonable, but these intrusive thoughts cannot be settled by logic or reasoning. Typical obsessions include excessive concerns about dirt or harm, the need for symmetry or exactness, or forbidden sexual or religious thoughts.
” Compulsions
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person is compelled to perform in response to an obsession. The behaviors are performed to prevent or reduce distress from the feared situation. In the most severe cases, a constant repetitive behavior is carried out the entire day, making a normal routine impossible. Although the compulsion may bring some relief to the worry, the obsession returns and the cycle is repeated all over. Some common examples of compulsions include cleaning to reduce the fear that germs, dirt, or chemicals will “contaminate” them and some spend many hours washing themselves or cleaning their surroundings. Some like to put objects, such as books in a certain order, or arrange household items “just so”, or in a symmetric fashion. They order and arrange to reduce discomfort. Counting, tapping, and repeating certain words are also compulsions to reduce anxiety.
Treatment of OCD may not result in cure but can help in managing the symptoms so that it won’t ruin the daily living. The two main treatment of OCD are:
” Psychotherapy: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a very effective type of treatment in psychotherapy.
” Medication: certain psychiatric medications can help control the obsession and compulsions of OCD.
” The combinations of both the treatment are the most effective. (The writer is a Clinical Psychologist at Government Mental Health Center, Midpu (Doimukh) and can be reached at osunam1988@gmail.com)