Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a chronic condition which compels an individual suffering from it to do things repeatedly which is classified as compulsions while another person with OCD could have obsessive disturbing thoughts that run through their minds. It is a long-lasting disorder that is common in people and usually detected in persons at a young age. This chapter will delve deeper on what this disorder is all about.
Some experts say that OCD could be genetic and inherited; others believe that it is a trauma based disorder which gets triggered off by a highly stressful or traumatic experience. And there are those who say that both are true.
Either way, the truth of the matter is these obsessive thoughts and or compulsive behaviors have a great likelihood of interrupting the lives of patients who have been diagnosed with it and most especially those who have been left unchecked and undiagnosed. A patient may display symptoms of both obsessive and compulsive behaviors or they may display symptoms of only one or the other.
An individual with OCD may show more telling signs when they obsess about cleanliness and hygiene. What, to others, are natural and normal things required of them to do to go about their day, an OCD patient may find repulsive and repugnant. For some patients the mere thought of opening a door appalls them to their core that they would wait until someone else came along to do it. The fear of catching or get infected by a virus to them is a deep seated fear which they cannot help and some would try to find ways to cope with their OCD in their own ways – ways that are somehow strange to those around them.
Patients of OCD have been known to wash their hands repeatedly or compulsively use hand sanitizers which they carry around with them at all times, everywhere. Others have been observed to wear gloves and a face mask for fear of getting infected with germs, perhaps by people they may come in close contact or from the environment in which they need to move about. They are afraid to touch things or people with their bare hands and all of that can become quite overwhelming for them as it becomes frustrating for those around them.
Some need perfect symmetry in everything around them that they go around fixing things that they feel are off kilter, out of place or balance, tilted or crooked. There are patients who would line up their clothes in their dressers according the shades and hues of the textile. In others, the disorder is exhibited in the patient as unwanted thoughts, disturbing yet fleeting images of doing or causing harm on themselves or someone else. Others would feel compelled to count repeatedly, then there are those who would check, recheck and go back to check that they have locked all their windows and doors.
Those with ritualistic behaviors find no pleasure in the actions they carry out but in their minds these are necessary things to do in order to get their world in order. They find fleeting relief in the comforting, assuring, ritualistic actions they carry out. People who have a hard time controlling their train of thought is asymptomatic of the behavioral disorder.
There are those who display the disorder as motor tics through vocal tics like throat clearing, snort, grunts, sniffing, coughing. These are sudden, jerky movements, eye blinking or fast eye movements, they repeatedly shrug their shoulders, grimace, shake or nod their heads.
People with OCD, whether they know it or not, may attempt “to cure” themselves by not getting into situations which they recognize as triggers. Others use drugs to calm themselves and then there are those who resort to the bottle. Almost all adults with OCD recognize the fact that the things they do don’t make sense. In children it would usually be the parents or the child’s teachers, who would recognize the manifestation of symptoms of disorder in the child.
OCD can prevent a person from functioning normally in the world, so it is very important recognize not only the symptoms but also when to get help and see a specialist. OCD can rob someone of the quality of life many of us take for granted. There are available tests to determine if a person has OCD. There is available medication, and therapy which a person or a family member can look into to get help from experts.
We are all individuals with varied ways of dealing with everyday routine. There are many and varied reasons for an individual with OCD to get set off. It could be a big role change, like a promotion or having a baby. There is also a possibility of a serotonin imbalance in an individual which could be the culprit of OCD.
The meticulous personality of person who likes things in a certain order could seem like a good thing at first but could easily lead to OCD if not taken in to check. The things a person with OCD is compelled may seem mad to others and other people in the family may start to have upset days when they are directly involved with the OCD.
There are other conditions which mimic the symptoms of OCD such as the following:
- Tourette syndrome is where the patient has an uncontrollable urge to shout out expletives or make seemingly rude noises in the middle of a conversation or just out of the blue.
- When a person is distressed about they look or a condition called body dysmorphic disorder a person becomes convinced of something off in their looks and obsess about their appearance, always finding some sort of fault with the way they look.
- A compulsion to pull out one’s hair or eyebrows is a condition Trichotillomania is another condition which mimics the symptoms of OCD.
- Hypochondria is when a patient is in constant fear about being infected by a disease or virus stemming from an experience perhaps they may have experienced in their lifetime.
- A form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome is another condition whose symptoms of needing to do the same things over and over again becomes a compulsion.
- Depression and anxiety and a handful of other mental related health issues can also be part of, accompanied by, or the start of OCD.