Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common mental disorder. But what is OCD, and how is it treated?
This blog post highlights the facts you need to know about OCD to help you or a loved one better understand and manage the condition.
What Is OCD?
OCD is characterized by obsessions, which are unwanted and intrusive thoughts, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. People with OCD may try to ignore or suppress their obsessions, but that only increases anxiety and distress.
Compulsions are the second part of OCD. These are repetitive behaviours or mental actions that people feel they must do in response to rigid rules. The goal of compulsions is to reduce anxiety or prevent something bad from happening. But in reality, compulsions are often ineffective, and they can make life more difficult and cause significant distress.
How Does OCD Affect Adults?
OCD can cause a great deal of distress and interfere with work, school, and personal relationships. It can be time-consuming and costly, as people with OCD may spend hours carrying out their compulsions or avoiding situations that trigger their obsessions.
Many adults with OCD recognize that their thoughts and behaviours are irrational, but they feel unable to control them. They may be embarrassed or ashamed of their symptoms and keep them secret from family and friends. This can lead to social isolation and further distress.
How Can You Identify OCD in a Child?
No one symptom definitively indicates that a child has OCD. However, the following behaviours may be cause for concern:
- Excessive handwashing or showering
- Repeatedly checking things (e.g., making sure the door is locked or the oven is turned off)
- Arranging objects in a precise or symmetrical way
- Counting, tapping or repeating certain words or phrases
If you suspect your child has OCD, you should seek professional help. A mental health provider with experience treating OCD can complete a thorough assessment and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Treatment for OCD
The good news is that OCD is a treatable condition. The most effective OCD treatment is cognitive-behavioural therapy combined with exposure and response prevention (ERP).
ERP is where you're exposed to your obsession triggers and learn to resist compulsions. This process can be complicated, and it may require the help of a trained therapist.
Medication can also be an effective treatment for OCD. A class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a viable treatment option for OCD. These work by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which can help reduce OCD symptoms.
If you or someone you know has OCD, there is hope. With proper diagnosis and treatment, many people with OCD can live productive and fulfilling lives.
For more information, contact a local clinic that can help with obsessive compulsive disorder treatment.