Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by obsessions, compulsions, or both. Obsessions are recurring, persistent, unwanted, anxiety-provoking, intrusive ideas, images, or urges. Compulsions (also called rituals) are certain actions or mental acts that people feel driven to repeatedly perform to try to lessen or prevent the anxiety caused by the obsessions.
Most obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviours are related to concerns about harm or risk.
Doctors diagnose the disorder when a person has obsessions, compulsions, or both.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is slightly more common among women than men and affects about 1 to 2% of the population.
- On average, OCD begins at about age 19 to 20 years, but over 25% of cases begin before age 14 (see also Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children and Adolescents).
- Up to 30% of people with OCD have had or have a tic disorder.
OCD differs from psychotic disorders, which are characterized by loss of contact with reality, although in a very small minority of OCD cases there is no insight. OCD also differs from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, although people with these disorders may have some of the same characteristics, such as being orderly or reliable or being a perfectionist.
Our individuality or uniqueness as a person, which is influenced by our genetic make-up, upbringing and life situations, is the reason why some people experience OCD more than others. Homeopathy understands and values this uniqueness.
Do you know …
Most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder know that their obsessions and compulsions are irrational.
Homeopathy did not merely seek to cure a disease but treated a disease as a sign of disorder of the whole human organism. This was also recognized in the Upanishad which spoke of human organs as combination of body mind and spirit. Homeopathy would play an important part in the Public Health of the country along with other systems.Dr. S. Radha Krishnan, Former Indian President
Causes of obsessive-compulsive disorder
The causes of obsessive-compulsive disorder are not fully known, but the following may be involved:
- Genetic factors
- Environment (such as experiencing a traumatic event or stress)
- Psychologic makeup
- A physical condition
Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have obsessions—thoughts, images, or urges that occur over and over even though people do not want them to. These obsessions intrude even when people are thinking about and doing other things. Also, obsessions usually cause great distress or anxiety. The obsessions usually involve thoughts of harm, risk, or danger.
Common obsessions include the following:
- Concerns about contamination (for example, worrying that touching doorknobs will cause disease)
- Doubts (for example, worrying that the front door was not locked)
- Concern that items are not perfectly lined up or even
Because the obsessions are not pleasurable, people often try to ignore and/or control them.
Compulsions (also called rituals) are one way people respond to their obsessions. For example, they may feel driven to do something—repetitive, purposeful, and intentional—to try to prevent or relieve the anxiety caused by their obsessions.
Common compulsions include the following:
- Washing or cleaning to be rid of contamination.
- Checking to allay doubt (for example, checking many times to make sure a door is locked)
- Counting (for example, repeating an action a certain number of times)
- Ordering (for example, arranging tableware or workspace items in a specific pattern)
Most rituals, such as excessive handwashing or repeated checking to make sure a door has been locked, can be observed. Other rituals, such as repetitive counting or quietly mumbling statements intended to diminish danger, cannot be observed.
Rituals may have to be done in a precise way according to rigid rules. The rituals may or may not be logically connected to the obsession. When compulsions are logically connected to the obsession (for example, showering to avoid being dirty or checking the stove to prevent fire), they are clearly excessive. For example, people may shower for hours each day or always check the stove 30 times before they leave the house. All obsessions and rituals are time-consuming. People may spend hours each day on them. They may cause so much distress or interfere with functioning so much that people are incapacitated.
Most people with OCD have both obsessions and compulsions.
Most people with OCD are somewhat aware that their obsessive thoughts do not reflect actual risks and that their compulsive behaviors are excessive. However, a few people are convinced that their obsessions are well-founded and that their compulsions are reasonable.
Most people with OCD are aware that their compulsive behaviors are excessive. Thus, they may perform their rituals secretly, even though the rituals may occupy several hours each day.
As a result of OCD symptoms, relationships may deteriorate, and people with OCD may do less well in school, at work, or in other aspects of daily functioning.
Many people with OCD also have other mental health disorders.
- About 75% of people with OCD also have a lifetime diagnosis of an anxiety disorder,
- about 40% have major depressive disorder (MDD).
- and 23 to 32% have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
- About 15 to 20% of people with OCD have MDD at the time the disorder is diagnosed.
More than 1/4 to about 2/3 of people with OCD have suicidal thoughts at some point, and 10 to 13% attempt suicide. Risk of a suicide attempt is increased if people also have MDD (see Suicidal Behavior).
OCD can prevent people from doing what they usually enjoy and starts to affect the physical, mental, emotional and social well-being. They may develop various physical symptoms. They may stop their activities, withdraw socially, and become preoccupied with health. The mind-body complex is now fully affected and becomes a vicious circle which keeps an individual in suffering mode.
Diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder
A doctor’s thorough evaluation which includes physical; mental; emotional; social health and environmental influence. Through this evaluation doctors try to identify the causes, factors modifying it and the impact of such symptoms on the daily life quality of a person.
Doctors diagnose obsessive-compulsive disorder based on symptoms: the presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both. The obsessions or compulsions must be at least one of the following:
- Cause significant distress or interfere with the person’s ability to function.
Doctors look for other disorders that can be inter-related, such as anxiety disorder, depression or a sleep disturbance. Doctors also ask whether relatives have had similar symptoms, because anxiety disorders tend to run in families.
Doctors ask how the person feels; eats; sleeps and goes through a routine day. Identifying these changes is critical because they can make the situation better or worse and, if present, must be treated for the disorder to be treated effectively.
Homeopathic Treatment of OCD
After a thorough evaluation, each case is worked upon and a set of similar medicines is derived from which one single medicine which fits the patient’s presentation at that time, in relevant intensity and repetitions is given.
Some need only one medicine throughout the duration of treatment and some need few in sequence one after another across the treatment.
Timely follow-ups are essential to keep moving forward towards the goal of treatment and to identify, manage and overcome any obstacles to the outcome.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy (which emphasizes the identification of unconscious patterns in current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors) and psychoanalysis have generally not been effective for people with OCD.
Outcome of Individualized Homeopathic Treatment
With Individualized Homeopathic treatment focused on the person who is suffering, the outlook is as follows:
- Relieves anxiety.
- Reduces obsession.
- Reduces compulsion.
- Boosts metabolism
- Improves sleep.
- Improves activity.
- Relieves fatigue.
- Restores function.
- Better moods
- Improves quality of life
Each person is unique and hence the time taken for treatment and the results achieved are also unique.
Try to consult a well-qualified professional homeopath who practices adhering to the tenets of Hahnemannian Homeopathy for Best Outcomes.