Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – an overview
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.
OCDs are diagnosed using specific established criteria.
Whatever form of OCDs you have, treatment can help.
Do you know …
Most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder know that their obsessions and compulsions are irrational.
Common Signs and Symptoms of OCD
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.
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.
Your obsessions and compulsions may not go away on their own, and they may get worse over time if you don’t seek help. See your Homeopathic doctor before your OCD gets worse. It’s quicker to treat if you get help early.
Complications of OCD
Having an OCD does more than take your time. It can also lead to, or worsen, other mental and physical conditions. These problems develop gradually.
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).
- Depression (which often occurs with an anxiety disorder) or other mental health disorders
- Develop sleep problems (Insomnia)
- Experience physical health isssues
- Constantly feel tired
- Become forgetful and lose focus
- Social Isolation and Loneliness
- Substance misuse
- Lose or Gain weight
- Decreased sex drive
- Problems functioning at school or work
- Poor quality of life and Years Lost to Disability
Prevention of OCDs
There’s no way to predict for certain what will cause someone to develop an OCD, but you can take steps to reduce the impact of symptoms if you’re getting obsessed or feeling compelled:
Get help early
OCD, like many other mental health conditions, can be harder to treat if you wait.
Participate in activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself. Enjoy social interaction and caring relationships, which can lessen your worries.
Avoid alcohol or drug use
Alcohol and drug use can cause or worsen OCD. If you’re addicted to any of these substances, quitting can make you anxious. If you can’t quit on your own, we are here to support and help you.
Stick to your treatment plan
Timely follow-ups are essential to keep moving forward towards the goal of treatment. It helps to manage, identify, and overcome any obstacles to the outcome. Take medications as directed. Consistency can make a big difference!
Outlook of treatment at HomoeopathyOne
With Individualised Homeopathic treatment focused on value based outcomes, here’s what your experience looks like:
- Reduces obsessions
- Reduces compulsions
- Relieves anxiety
- Boosts metabolism
- Saves time
- Improves relationships
- 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.