Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – OCD

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mind photoObsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a medical condition which can be further classified as a “mental illness” and affects both children and adults all over the world.

How to tell if someone is suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? Here are the most common symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

  1. Unusually great fear of germs or contamination.
  2. Abnormal thoughts about sex, religion or harm.
  3. A tendency to be aggressive to others.
  4. Suicidal or self-destructive tendencies.
  5. An unusual desire to see things arranged symmetrically or in perfect order.

What does “compulsion” stand for with regards to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? A person suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder may feel “compelled” to do certain things. Some of these compulsions may include:

  1. Excessive cleaning.
  2. Excessive hand washing.
  3. Ordering or rearranging things in a particular, precise way.
  4. Repeatedly checking on things, such as checking if the door is close or if the stove is turned off.
  5. Counting stuff for no reason.

But cleanliness is next to godliness! Washing hands keep you healthy and arranging things is a sign of neatness! Isn’t it? The answer is “yes.” But a person suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder does these things way more than what is considered normal. They are said to be suffering from an “Obsessive-Compulsion.”

The word “compulsive” is derived from the word “compel,” which means “to command violently or forcefully.” A person with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder feels forcefully compelled to do certain things even though they can’t understand why.

The word “obsession” means “a love or desire for something that is unusually great or that exceeds normal human love or desire.” For example, it’s OK to watch your favorite television show everyday. But if you find yourself angry if you miss one show, and if you find yourself talking about the show more than 75% of your conversations, you may be obsessed with it. There is often a thin line between love, desire and obsession. Love and desire are expected of humans, but obsession borders on mental illness.

People suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder generally:

  1. Can’t control their obsessive-compulsive thoughts or behaviors.
  2. Spend at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts and behaviors.
  3. Experiences problems in their daily lives because of these thoughts and behaviors.

So what causes Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and how can it be treated?

There has been scientific evidence that the condition is passed through genetics. That is, someone suffering from it may pass it onto children. The genes may also be recessive and only surface after several generations. For example, a man who has suffered from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder may have children who never suffer from it. But his children might have great-grandchildren that are affected by the condition.

There is also scientific evidence to show that a physical deformity in the brain is responsible for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

The environment has also been noted as risk factor for the development of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. For example, children who have been subjected to some form of abuse or the other are more likely to develop Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder than children who grew up in a normal environment.

Both counselling and medications are used to treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Common medications include fluoxetine and sertraline.

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