One type of anxiety disorder is the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This condition causes a person to have repeated obsessions, which are persistent ideas, images, or thoughts in the mind, and feel the need to perform repetitive compulsions, which are behaviors utilized to reduce anxiety, fear or overwhelm from obsessions. OCD considered a serious condition because of how it can take over someone’s world. Continually living with fearful obsessions and performing compulsive behavior can become time-consuming and cause misery and incapacity. These can easily start to hinder daily activities.
The specific cause behind OCD is not yet determined. Scientific studies have revealed that individuals with OCD have some sort of irregular brain activities. The irregularities are present in a certain area of the brain known as the striatum. Compulsive behaviors are a way for the individual to relieve anxiety. People suffering from OCD are often unaware that compulsive behavior leads to more obsessions and anxiety.
The following list includes some examples of obsessive-compulsive behaviors:
∙••••• repeating a behavior in an attempt to achieve perfection
∙••••• constantly repeating behaviors, words or actions
∙••••• efforts to ignore or stop thoughts and actions, but unsuccessful
∙••••• doing ritualistic acts
∙••••• firmly sticking to a random set of rules for behavior
∙••••• excessive cleaning, checking, or counting
∙••••• redoing actions/behaviors in a ritualistic manner
∙••••• seeking reassurance from parents, friends or loved ones
OCD usually starts in childhood or in teenage years. It is likely to run in the family; therefore some believe it is hereditary. The affected person feels helpless and forced to perform compulsions, which usually results in also suffering from depression. The condition is associated with other mental health problems, including:
∙••••• other anxiety disorders
∙••••• bulimia, anorexia, or other eating disorders
∙••••• depression and isolation
∙••••• attention deficit disorders
∙••••• substance abuse or addiction
Proper diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder starts with a series of tests and evaluations performed by an OCD specialist. The therapist will ask the patient about any kind of obsession or compulsive behavior they are engaging in and how many hours they are engage in these behaviors. This will help gauge which OCD sub-types are present and the level of OCD severity. The therapist will give an OCD diagnosis if the tests, evaluations and compulsive behaviors are indicating they are suffering from OCD.
OCD is a chronic condition. For some people, symptoms can become severe and they’ll need intensive OCD treatment. During treatment, the therapist helps the individual identify OCD obsessions and compulsions and helps them learn new tools and strategies to end the OCD cycle.
The ‘gold standard treatment’ method for an OCD intensive treatment program is exposure and response prevention. Through this form of therapy, the individual suffering from OCD is exposed to anything that prompts obsessions but learn the proper ways to avoid doing the compulsive behaviors. By repeatedly doing exposure response prevention, the patient learns that the obsessions were reinforced by compulsive behaviors and these behaviors are no longer necessary to reduce anxiety.
Cognitive-behavior therapy is another technique to address OCD. The medical practitioner guides the individual how to change his thought patterns. The patient learns to respond accordingly to obsessions and/or compulsions. Combined, cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure response prevention help individuals end the OCD cycle and return to living a normal life.