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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental disorder where the sufferer has obsessive thoughts and shows repetitive behaviors. Here's everything you need to know about it.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

Obsessive compulsive disorder: People affected with OCD are prone to repetitive behaviors

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental disorder
  2. Environmental factors such as infections could be responsible for OCDs
  3. People affected with OCD are prone to repetitive behaviors

One form of OCD was Monica's obsession for keeping things clean and being organized and the other one was Sheldon's fear of germs. But to your surprise, this condition is much more than that. OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental disorder where the sufferer has obsessive thoughts and shows repetitive behaviors. The victim can have unreasonable thoughts and fears, all of which interfere with daily life activities. In some cases the patient is aware of this condition and tries to suppress such repetitive behaviors. But that backfires in a different way and causes a great deal of distress. And ultimately, you are driven to perform the required actions to feel relaxed. This is what makes OCD a ritualistic and vicious circle.

Sometimes, in order to fulfill the obsession, a person ends up harming oneself. For example, if a person has fear of germs, he or she is driven to wash hands every now and then till they become sore and chapped. Other instances include continuous negative thoughts about a family member being harmed or keeping every item in a set place. And even if it moves one spot ahead, it causes distress and irritation. OCDs can make a person feel embarrassed and ill-at-ease because this condition, in a way, robs the sufferer of self-control. Even if you wish to control this obsession or stop such strange behaviors, you fail to do so because you feel powerless.

 
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Also read: How OCD Is More Than Being 'Just A Cleanliness Freak': Know All About It


What are the causes of OCD?

Despite the wealth of knowledge and research, experts are not very well aware of the causes of OCD. They say that the brains of people with OCD do not look normal but they still need to dig out some relevant reasons for it. Women are more prone to this condition than men. Its symptoms show in teenage or in young adults and stress makes things worse. The following can make you more prone to OCDs.

1. Family history, a parent or sibling with OCD

2. Depression and anxiety

3. Trauma

4. A history or sexual abuse as a child

5. Changes in the body's natural functions and brain chemistry

6. Genes could also be responsible for this condition

7. Environmental factors such as infections could also be responsible for OCDs.

 
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What are the symptoms of OCD?

People affected with OCD are prone to repetitive behaviors. However, they are well aware of the fact that their actions do not make any sense. Despite this, they fail to control their obsessions; not because they don't want to, but because they just can't control. And even if they succeed at controlling themselves, they feel ill-at-ease, which forces them to repeat their obsessions.

These obsessions could be anything; being a cleanliness freak, having continuous thoughts about sex, violence and religion or some body parts. These thoughts could also include the following:

1. Fear of being dirty or acquiring germs

2. Worrying about being hurt or others being hurt

3. Obsessive need for having things in order

4. Thinking that some numbers or colors are good and the rest are bad

5. Being aware of bodily sensations like breathing and blinking

6. Being suspicious about a partner's faithfulness

Besides these, the sufferer can also have some compulsive habits like:

1. Washing hands again and again

2. Following only a specific order for all tasks and doing it religiously and a 'good' number of times

3. Checking locked doors and lights repetitively

4. A need to count things like steps

5. Keeping things in a specific manner, like keeping the cans facing the front

6. Being scared of touching door knobs and shaking hands

What are the treatment options for OCD?

OCD is a condition, which, if left untreated can become chronic and is likely to accompany you for a very long time. If a person does not receive the appropriate treatment for OCD in time, the likelihood of getting better goes down. The treatment for it, however, will depend on the extent to which the obsessions and compulsions affect a person's quality of life. Though there is no sure-shot cure for OCDs; talk therapies and psychotherapies can help you control the symptoms, especially when they start interfering with your quality of life.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information. 

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