OCD is a psychological disorder, in which people have compulsive thoughts, ideas, memories or actions. Those obsessions appear unwillingly, and people with OCD try to get rid of them with the help of other obsessions, but it’s all hopeless. This disorder can be chronic, progressive or episodic. Statistically speaking, about 1% of all mental hospital patients suffer from it. There’s equal numbers of men and women, who have OCD.
Symptoms of OCD
Signs of obsessive compulsive disorder are hard, compulsive, frightening ideas, wishes and visions. People with OCD consider those ideas alien and crazy, but they can’t get rid of them. All their resistance is absolutely useless. The main obsessions are the following:
- Fear of getting infected or dirty;
- Fear of hurting themselves or other people;
- Some cruel thoughts and ideas;
- Sexual thoughts;
- Religious ideas;
- Ethical ideas;
- Thoughts that everything must be done correctly;
- Thoughts about superstitions.
Compulsive actions (rituals) are another symptom of OCD. Such people repeat them again and again, in order to prevent something awful from happening. They believe that only those rituals can save them and their families from something terrible, and at the same time they understand how absurd it all is. They simply can’t resist those compulsive thoughts and rituals, they’re greatly exhausted with them and suffer from them much. So, here’s the list of signs of OCD in adults:
- Compulsive thoughts, that repeat again and again;
- Rituals, performed in order to get rid of anxiety.
The widespread fear, connected with OCD, is a fear of getting dirty. People with such fear choose this or that object and consider it dangerous. They’re afraid to touch it so much, that they start washing their hands. If they touch that “dangerous” object, they wash their hands again. Here’s another example. People lock the door and then check whether it’s locked. Those rituals defend them from their anxiety just for a short period of time. They feel that their threat is gone for a while and feel much better. But then their anxiety returns to them. They understand how senseless are all their rituals, but they can’t do anything to them. Those signs of OCD can only get worse. For example, thoughts of hurting themselves or other people get so strong, that the people are afraid to be in a room, where they see knives or other sharp objects. They are so anxious, that start performing their rituals. They can sing something in their mind or repeat this or that thought a thousand times. They can also touch some object, that they consider to be “magical”. Those ritual can accompany people with OCD for many, many years, and they get greatly tired of them.
As a rule, people with OCD don’t tell anyone about their compulsive thoughts and rituals, because they consider them symptoms of their craziness. But other people with OCD involve their families in their rituals. It’s necessary to resist such attempts.
Diagnosis of OCD
Only mental specialist can confirm, that this or that person has OCD. This disorder can only be disclosed, when its symptoms appear for about a half of the day during 2 weeks. People with OCD behave the following way:
- They accept that their obsessions are their own thoughts.
- They try to resist their compulsive thoughts.
- They suffer from their compulsive thoughts and obsessions.
- They frequently have compulsive thoughts that repeat again and again.
OCD is very similar with anankastic disorder, so mental specialists have to differ one from the other. Symptoms of anankastic disorder are the following: constant doubts, too much attention to little details and perfectionism.
Causes and Treatment
The reason for this disease is not clear, but mental specialists have found some factors, that can be connected with it.
- Brain disorders;
- Vegetative nervous system disorders;
- Genetic factors;
- Streptococcal infection;
- Alcohol or drug dependency;
- Accentuation of personality traits;
- Constant stress;
- Toxic relationship.
The most effective treatment of OCD is cognitive behavioural therapy. The method, created by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, helps people with OCD resist their obsessions and compulsive thoughts, change and reduce their rituals. They accept their disorder and cope with it step by step. Mental specialists explain to them that the biggest part of their fears are only illusions. People with OCD learn how to differ true fears from illusions, cope with true ones and get rid of illusions.
Some psychologists say that the most successful methods of cognitive behavioural therapy are exposition and prevention. Exposition means putting people with OCD into the situation, that causes their anxiety. Prevention means teaching people with OCD how to reduce their rituals. Some medicines can also help people with OCD cope with their disorder.
People with OCD should understand, that their disorder must be treated, or it will get worse. Therapy can help them reduce their symptoms, but it’s impossible to get rid of OCD completely.