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Am I suffering from OCD?

Q: I am a 28 years old male and a teacher by profession. My problem is that I don’t have any control over myself. I do nonsense things even though I know they are wrong, for example, I take ten to twelve cups of tea, eat a lot of outside food, and never concentrate on my work. I feel that there is no coordination between my mind and myself. I always go against my mind. I feel that I am controlled by some one else. Doctors told me that it is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). But I doubt that it is OCD or simply lack of will power. Please help.

A:Since I cannot diagnose your problem from the brief details, here is what I can tell you that might be helpful. People with OCD (obsessive-compulsive anxiety disorder) often do just the kinds of things that you describe yourself as doing. You need to get yourself examined by a competent mental health professional to make a correct diagnosis to see if your symptoms are caused by a different illness. If the examination is negative for other illnesses, it is a good bet that you have OCD. OCD is a specific type of anxiety disorder. Many people with OCD have other anxiety symptoms as well, but some OCD patients bind their anxiety so effectively with their obsessions, compulsions, and rituals, that they have no other anxiety symptoms; the OCD does the trick. There are two different approaches to treating OCD, and they can be combined. One is high dose of a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). These medicines usually have few side effects, and will significantly reduce OCD symptoms such as the ones you describe. The other treatment is Cognitive-Behavioural psychotherapy. This, too, is effective, and does not depend on use of medication. Both treatments tend to be more effective if the patient and the treating mental health professional work first to understand the source of the anxiety. In some individuals the anxiety can be traced to stress in childhood or adolescence. In others, the main cause is genetic; coming from a family in which many members are anxious. But in either case, one of the above treatments is likely to be needed.

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