• 09 MAR 18
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    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

    Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

    Have you ever seen someone doing unusual things without any specific reason such as washing of hands regularly, checking if the door is locked or not, again and again, to confirm, spending long hours in washing or bathing, cleaning the things again and again without any need, then the person may be suffering from mental disorder called as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In this disorder, a person does not perform such activities deliberately but it is a clinical disorder which is affecting his mind. Two decades ago, the Obsessive-compulsive disorder was considered as relatively among rare disorders. As per the latest studies, it was found that around 2% of the population worldwide suffers from this secretive type of disease.

    What is an Obsessive-compulsive disorder?

    It is a type of long-lasting mental disorder in which people feel the urge to do things repeatedly over a period of time. They have no control over thoughts or have certain reoccurring thoughts called as obsessions and repeated behaviour called as compulsions.

    Some of the common behaviours are:

    1. Washing hands continuously over a regular  period of time
    2. Counting of certain things again and again
    3. Checking the locked door again and again to confirm


    These activities affect the normal daily life in a negative way. These activities increase the anxiety and risk of suicide also.

    Symptoms of OCD:

    There can be a variety of symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Usually, people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder have either compulsions or obsessions or both.

    Obsessions: These are defined as repeated intrusive thoughts resulting in anxiety. These include:

    1. Fear of contamination or getting germs
    2. Fear of losing control and harming yourself or others
    3. Violent thoughts and intrusive sexually explicit
    4. Fear of losing something
    5. Showing aggressive behaviour towards self or others
    6. Strong ideas about having everything in perfect order and symmetry
    7. Superstitions, considering something lucky or unlucky


    Compulsions: These are defined as the irresistible need to behave in a certain way or state of force to do something. These include:

    1. Repeated washing or cleaning of hands
    2. Engaging oneself in counting, tapping or repeating certain words.
    3. Performing senseless activities to reduce anxiety.
    4. Accumulating waste materials for no use.
    5. Recurrent checking if the door is locked or not.
    6. Excessive praying due to some religious fear.
    7. Reassuring about the loved ones again and again
    8. Ordering items in a certain pattern.


    In addition to these symptoms people with the obsessive-compulsive disorder also suffer from tic disorder. These include:

    1. Motor tics: Jerking of head and shoulders, blinking of eyes, facial grimacing.
    2. Vocal tics: Repetitive clearing of the throat, producing sounds such as sniffing or grunting.


    Causes of OCD:

    The causes of the obsessive-compulsive disorder are unknown. Genetic and environmental risk factors can be associated with it.

    1. Genetic factors: It is believed that identical twins are at more risk of developing the obsessive-compulsive disorder as compared to non-identical twins due to some changes in genetic components. Also in some studies, it has been found that a person having first-degree relative suffering from OCD is at greater risk of getting obsessive-compulsive disorder also. The risk increases if the first-degree relative had developed OCD in his childhood or as a teenager.
    2. Environmental factors: People who have been the victim of child abuse (physical or mental) are at more risk of developing the obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some stress-inducing events also result in OCD.


    Do’s to be followed in OCD:

    1. Take help and support: Taking help from near and dear ones will help in relieving the stress and anxiety.
    2. Be positive: Thinking positively will increase your confidence and will help to fight the disease.
    3. Take medications on time: a Complete course of medicines is necessary to recover.
    4. Get sound sleep: Lack of sleep worsens the anxiety disorders. A good sleep will help to rest your mind and body and coping with OCD.
    5. Perform meditation: Mediation will help to relax all the senses and mind. This will keep you calm and will help to focus.
    6. Exercise and yoga: Doing exercise and practising yoga will improve your focusing power and will make you more determined.


    Don’ts to be followed in OCD:

    1. Avoid alcohol and nicotine consumption: These can worsen the anxiety and make you more depressed.
    2. Don’t ignore the symptoms: Neglecting the initial symptoms can make the disease more complicated.
    3. Don’t lose hope: Losing hope will delay the recovery process and will worsen the condition.
    4. Don’t take stress: Stress is the major contributing factor on obsessive-compulsive disorder. Excess of stress can make you violent and can hinder the treatment also.
    5. Don’t stop medications in between: Discontinuing the intake of medicines without doctor’s advise can worsen the side effects and make the situation worse. Always consult your doctor before changing or stopping the medicines.


    Anxiety and stress are a normal part of life but when these started to interfere with your daily activities then it is no more normal. This can be an indication of OCD. OCD is such a disease which can be treated with calmness and patience only. The patient needs an understanding environment, love and support to deal with the disorder.

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