It can be irritating to the people around you when you continuously have the urge to repeat something over and over again – this is what people with obsessive compulsive disorder go through almost each minute of their lives.
The condition is chronic and long-lasting and is commonly referred to as the doubting disorder because it preys on a person’s doubts. People who suffer from this condition are usually consciously aware that their thoughts are irrational and are nothing but distortions of reality.
However, they feel so strongly about them emotionally that it clouds logical thinking. For people with OCD, the mind becomes a gift and a curse.
It can put forward very compelling arguments and solve complex problems but at the same time manipulate facts into half-truths.
Those suffering from this condition experience symptoms of compulsions, obsessions, or sometimes both. The symptoms can interfere with a person’s school, work, and personal relationships.
Obsessions are recurring thoughts, mental images or urges that result in anxiety.
People who suffer from this disorder constantly fret about things or issues that are normally ignored because they really don’t matter. Some of the common symptoms include fear of dirt or germs, taboo thoughts about religion, sex, and pain, the desire for symmetry or perfection, and hostile thoughts towards self or others.
Compulsions are recurring behaviors that people with this disorder feel the need to engage in as responses to obsessive thoughts. Some of the common ones include:
These symptoms should not be taken to mean that every habit or ritual is a compulsion.
It’s perfectly normal to double-check things, but doing it repeatedly or in a manner that is not logical makes it a compulsion.
People with this condition generally can’t control their thoughts or behaviors even when they are clearly recognizable as obsessive.
They spend a lot of time on these behaviors or thoughts, do not really get any pleasure from performing the rituals apart from a brief relief from anxiety that the thoughts cause, and also experience a significant amount of problems in different aspects of their lives due to their compulsions and obsessions.
There are OCD patients who experience sudden and brief repetitive movements like eye blinking, shoulder jerking and shrugging, and facial grimacing. Other actions include repetitive sniffing, throat clearing, or grunting sounds.
These patients usually feel the urge to revisit past thoughts or actions and then spend a lot of hours analyzing them. For them, the past distracts and diverts their attention.
They try to turn illogical thoughts into logical ones, always at the cost of their own comfort and happiness.
The logical and intellectual mind attempts to solve riddles that are unsolvable, but there is always that urge to make sense of it all.
As they strive for perfection, self-doubt creeps in. They shy away from an impulsive action and become immobilized in the face of it.
This often leads to a lot of time wasting and at the same time baffles those around them. In the process, they appear indecisive and directionless.
OCD symptoms may come and disappear, become less pronounced with time, or even get worse.
Some patients try to manage them by avoiding the trigger factors or engage in practices such as alcohol and drug consumption to calm their nerves.
It’s best to see a doctor when you suspect that you have OCD because it can affect your life negatively especially when left untreated.
Obsessive compulsive disorder affects people across different age groups, from children to adolescents and adults. A lot of those with the condition are diagnosed at around 19 years of age, with an earlier onset of symptoms seen in boys than in girls.
The disorder does not usually occur in a person after the age of 35 years. The exact causes of the condition have not been determined, but some of the known risk factors include:
Environment: Those who have gone through some abuse at an early stage of life, whether physical or sexual, are at increased risk of developing the disorder.
Brain structure: Research has shown that some abnormalities in certain parts of the brain are connected to OCD symptoms.
More studies are still being conducted on this topic in order to develop better-personalized treatment options.
Genetics: Research studies have indicated that people whose close relatives have suffered from the disorder are at a higher risk of developing it.
The risk is even higher when the said family members developed it as children or teenagers.
Most patients with this disorder respond well to prescribed treatment options with the exception of a few who continue to experience the symptoms.
You may find cases where people with OCD also have other mental disorders like depression and anxiety.
It’s critical to take note of such disorders when choosing the best treatment option.
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a condition that is often misunderstood.
The information given should provide some necessary insights about it and help with diagnosis as well as treatment so that such patients can lead normal lives.