ss_blog_claim=87d912d47e189099ba8e6a359c2c2486 Lilyruths "This and that friendly cottage": What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? Do you have it?

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October 30, 2008

What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? Do you have it?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent thoughts or actions that interfere with a person’s life. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, OCD is categorized as an anxiety disorder.
Do You Have OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric illness. People with OCD spend large amounts of time and energy on repetitive thoughts and actions, such as cleaning or counting. These obsessions and compulsions may cause a person to feel trapped, miserable, or unable to function.

If you find yourself thinking about something over and over again, or doing something over and over again, and if you feel these rituals are out of your control, you may want to read further. OCD is actually the fourth most common psychiatric diagnosis (after phobias, substance abuse, and depression), so you are certainly not alone.


What Is an Obsession?
An obsession is a recurrent, intrusive thought. It is more than just an everyday worry, and is usually distressing or disturbing to the person experiencing it. Examples include excessive preoccupation with the following:


Cleanliness, germs, or disease (“What if I get AIDS?”)
Doubting oneself (“Did I lock the door?”)
Neatness, symmetry, or specific numbers (“I have to have everything in its place.”)

What Is a Compulsion?
A compulsion is a repetitive behavior, often aimed at “neutralizing” the obsession. People feel driven to perform these acts in order to respond to their obsession or to prevent something bad from happening. Examples include the following:


Hand washing (to the point of dry and cracked hands)
Counting, rearranging (buying everything in pairs, or turning on and off the light switch a certain number of times)
Checking (repeatedly checking door locks, the stove, underneath one’s car)
People with OCD can have obsessions, compulsions, or both. Most people with OCD, however, have an obsession (like disease) and an associated compulsion (like washing).


What Happens to People With OCD?
OCD can begin at any age, including childhood. Symptoms often begin suddenly, or following a stressful life event. Some people with OCD have relatively mild symptoms, while others are debilitated to the point of being unable to leave the house. Symptoms may wax and wane, or they may remain constant. Many people with OCD also have depression.

The good news is that there is treatment:

Medications, usually prescribed by a psychiatrist, can be very helpful. The most commonly used medications for OCD are selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) and clomipramine.
Psychotherapy (“talk therapy”) is extremely important, too. Therapists treating people with OCD often use various forms of behavior therapy.

How Do I Get Help?
If you think you may have OCD, you should seek treatment. A variety of resources are available to assist you in finding a mental health practitioner with whom you feel comfortable.

Doctors, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners can prescribe medications. A psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, social worker, or other mental health practitioner can provide psychotherapy.

Support groups are often helpful too. For people with OCD, support groups can provide additional education about the disease, as well as a sense of not being alone. Support groups can be beneficial for loved ones, too, who may need help in understanding their role in the recovery process.

Source: The Web

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7 comments:

ozzieblackcat said...

The only repetitive thought I have is I want to eat something. I have anxiety but not OCD. Good article!

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Phoenix Air Conditioning Repair said...

I think almost everyone has a bit of OCD no matter what. I wash my hands quite often and do have to have somethings my way. I don't let it bother me though to the point of incapacitation. I usually think about it once or twice. The only thing I really have a problem with is washing my hands too much but I can live with that.

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Paul Greene, Ph.D. said...

I'd have to disagree with Phoenix's comment. Not all of us have a little bit of OCD. Most of us do not. We might all have situations that make us uncomfortable, but I think that's different. Not all of us suffer from compulsions or obsessions.

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