Mind Matters

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. The affected individual gets bogged down by discomforting thoughts. To get rid of the anxiety that is generated due to discomforting thoughts he/she may resort to repeated actions which are referred as “rituals” in medical jargon.

According to NIH statistics 2.2 million American adults are affected by OCD. Both men and women are equally affected by OCD. It usually strikes an individual either in childhood, or in adolescence or in early adulthood. According to NIH statistics one-third of adults who suffer from OCD must have acquired it in childhood itself. So, to an extent it can be said that OCD runs in families.

Sign and Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

It is common to notice the affected individual performing the following “rituals” in day to day life;

  • Checking for considerable number of times whether the door is locked before leaving the home.
  • Washing hands time and again due to the fear of being infected by germs.
  • Touching objects repeatedly, and that too in a particular sequence.
  • An individual combing before the mirror for prolonged periods, not being satisfied with his/her hair style.

Do Normal individuals perform “rituals” associated with OCD?

The affected individual does not perform all the above rituals willingly, but because can’t avoid repeating them. It is so distressing as the person’s day to day activities are hampered. It may even affect the individual’s performance at the work place. Some people know what they are doing is senseless. Some people do not even know that.

However the above mentioned symptoms may even be noticed in a normal individual. The essential difference between normal person and the one affected by OCD is that the normal person repeats the acts on rare instances. For example a person checking whether the stove is properly switched off or not, before leaving home for a long vacation. In the case of normal individual the behaviour will not be so severe where in it mars even the day to day activities.

Apart from this in case of the person affected by OCD thoughts which are not “politically correct”, “morally right” and “religiously proper”, which usually unsettle an individual mentally occur very frequently.

Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Two of the most commonly used medication, used for treating the OCD include the following:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Side effects of OCD Medication

The side effects of the drugs used for treating include the following:

  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual problems
  • Agitation

How to Cope up with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

The following information is given to help the individual suffering from OCD:

Most insurance plans, including health maintenance organizations (HMOs), cover treatment for anxiety disorders.
Public Medical centers and State Medical generally come to the rescue of affected individuals who are devoid of any insurance coverage.

Better Management of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

The persons suffering from from OCD are generally advised to join the community self-help groups in their respective areas and seek guidance and counselling from professional psychotherapist.

Discuss with your family. There is general tendency among families of the affected persons to dismiss OCD as just another trivial behavioural problem. This is not true. OCD as mentioned, can severely cripple the life an individual. So if your family is unable to grasp the severity of your problem, please tell them about the details mentioned in this article.

<span style="font-size: medium;"General Advice to Counter Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

The following advice is given in order to counter and come out of the limitations imposed by OCD:

  • Do meditation and Yoga
  • Do aerobics
  • Keep your self away from illicit drugs
  • Avoid taking over-the-counter drugs (especially for common cold)
  • Always seek proper medical advice


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