Obsessive-compulsive disorder is often referred to as (OCD). It is an illness that causes certain people to have unwanted obsessions and compulsions. This means a person feels the need to obsessively think about things or perform different behaviors or rituals over and over even when they do not want to do them. These are different than every day habits that most people have, these things tend to interfere with the ability to live a regular lifestyle. People with OCD are aware of their compulsions, rituals or obsessions, but are unable to control them even when they know they do not make sense. This often leads to frustration, embarrassment, anger, seclusion, or depression.
OCD can affect people in different ways. One may have images, impulses or ideas that they become fixated on and cannot help from thinking about them all the time. The person with these thoughts is frustrated by them but cannot stop them from replaying in their mind. When a person feels afraid, anxious or nervous about these thoughts they may try to get over the feelings by performing particular behaviors. They make up rules and expectations that they must meet to their own high standards. These behaviors or fixations can be focused on many different things or just one in particular obsession. Some of the most common obsessions are fear of germs or dirt, needing order or needing things to be just right, thoughts of images, sounds, numbers or words, fear of harming a loved one, disgust with bodily fluids, fear of thinking sinful thoughts, and needing reassurance or recognition on a constant basis. A person who has bad feelings or thoughts about these things will perform certain tasks in order to get the thoughts out of their head.
One of the common compulsions that a person with obsessive compulsive disorder may perform can be obsessive cleaning to rid the house of dirt or grooming themselves over and over again, such as hand washing, teeth brushing or showering. Another common compulsion involves repeating things several times before they are considered satisfactory. This may include entering a room more than once, sitting down then standing up again, or touching certain items several times to get it just right. A person may feel the need to save unnecessary items that should be thrown away. Also arranging objects in a certain pattern or checking on things to be sure they are perfect, such as door locks and appliances, are other compulsions.
So far there has not been any research that has come up with a proven cause of obsessive compulsive disorder, but there are treatments that have been known to help people overcome these disorders and keep symptoms from controlling their lives. Medicines including Anafranil, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Luvox can all help treat the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. Often therapy can be a great help in allowing people to face their fears and move past the obsessions. This is done with a trained therapist that knows how to handle behavioral disorders. A person suffering from OCD will be coached on how to deal with their negative feelings without performing the ritual they normally turn to for support. This can take some time to achieve and a person will usually have extreme anxiety during the first few sessions of therapy, but usually once they see that nothing bad came of their thoughts and the ritual wasn’t needed they can start to move past the obsessions.
If you feel that you may be experiencing an obsessive compulsion disorder, it is extremely important to be evaluated by your doctor as soon as possible. It is always best to start a treatment program before the problem gets out of control and really starts interfering with your daily living.
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