Obsessive compulsive disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder can often become highly distressing and life interrupting to the point of hospitalization and chronic care. Most patients with obsessive compulsive disorder are likely to continuously escalate without treatment until their entire life is taken over by repeating and obsessive behaviors.
OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER SYMPTOMSSymptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder may include repeated doubts despite knowledge (not being sure the door is closed even though they just closed it) fear of dirt and germs, fear of contamination, requiring orderly and symmetrical environments, experiencing strong sexual images, having horrific thoughts and fantasies of graphic violence or sexuality, chronic thoughts that they may have hurt someone accidentally, skin lesions as a result of skin picking, bald spots as a result of hair pulling, dermatitis from chronic washing, avoidant behaviors such as refusal to shake hands, an irrational fear of disease and illness, images of hurting those they love including their own children, fear of their own images, chronic nose picking, the need to count, the need to organize, attention to minute details, checking things repeatedly, and other behaviors that when performed repeatedly become abnormal.
Image: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER CAUSESResearch has yet to prove exactly where OCD comes from, but there are several theories which are readily accepted. Some research has proven biological roots, meaning that patients with obsessive compulsive disorder are just born that way, with a misfiring in the brain. Others believe that patients with obsessive compulsive disorder were taught to be dramatically compulsive or developed their compulsions as a method of dealing with horrific abuse usually sexual in nature. Most patients with OCD seem to have an insufficient serotonin level in the brain while others developed obsessive compulsive disorder after experiencing strep throat.
OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER RISK FACTOR2.2 million Americans suffer from some degree of obsessive compulsive disorder, which was once considered a rare mental illness. Risk factors for the development of obsessive compulsive disorder include family history, significant stress or trauma, and pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth seem to be at an elevated risk, although some researchers believe that they actually suffer from a form of post partum depression since the most significant symptom is thoughts of hurting the new baby.
OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER DIAGNOSISFor patients beginning to experience the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, a physical examination is required to rule out any possible physical causes for the changes in behaviors and the need for sudden and constant hand washing. Barring any physical causes, a psychological examination can determine obsessive compulsive disorder. A highly specified list of criteria must be met before a patient can be diagnosed with OCD.
OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER COMPLICATIONSComplications of obsessive compulsive disorder include the inability to function in the world, including holding a job, having friends, or even leaving the house. OCD may start as a few basic tolerable symptoms but can quickly escalate to an unacceptable condition of living.
OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER TREATMENTObsessive compulsive disorder is usually treated with both medications and psychotherapy to help readjust the behaviors which are interfering with the patient’s ability to live a normal life. Medications usually include antidepressants. Although patients with obsessive compulsive disorder may become depressed, antidepressants are used for their ability to increase levels of serotonin in the brain.
Patients with OCD face a long and difficult road. The most important factor in returning to or developing an enjoyable life is maintaining treatment despite the discomforts and the set backs which are bound to happen. Patients who take an active role in their own treatment and who understand their illness fair better than patients who don’t get involved in their own treatment. Medications may need to be adjusted and patients need to learn to meet their own goals and develop a social network rather than live in isolation.