Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, long-lasting mental and behavioral disorder in which a person has recurring, uncontrollable, persistent thoughts (obsessions) and an urge to perform certain routines repeatedly (compulsions) that causes disturbance in the usual thinking and functioning of an individual.
People with OCD disrupt their daily routine by assuming that their obsessions are unrealistic and have difficulty coming out of their obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions.
Symptoms of OCD
Obsessions are persistent thoughts, imaginations, or impulses that cause distressing emotional disturbances such as anxiety. Many people with OCD realize that excessive thoughts, images, or impulses are the outcome of their minds.
Hence, most OCD people try to distract themselves by getting engaged in other activities.
Common Obsession Symptoms:
- Fear of various contaminations - Fear of feeling contaminated by touching entities that others have been touched, including biological, physical, or chemical contaminants.
- Doubts - Possesses doubts whether the door has been locked, the gas stove is turned off, or lights are turned off and also have difficulty tolerating delays.
- Concern about Orderly Manner - Feels extreme stress over the things/objects that are not appropriately arranged.
- Invasive thoughts of sounds and images - visualizing images of driving a car rashly into a crowd, aggressive thoughts of losing control over yourself and hurting others, making huge sounds, or thoughts of shouting an obscenity in public places.
- Aggression Thoughts - imagining unpleasant sexual images or possessing thoughts of sex.
Compulsions are repetitive mental behaviors that a person feels forced to perform in reaction to an obsession.
Some of the compulsions can be considered excessive responses directly related to an obsession (For example, excessive hand washing due to the fear of contamination).
Common Compulsion Symptoms:
- Excessive Washing and Cleaning: Excessive hand washing until the skin becomes dry, over brushing teeth, taking a shower often, and repeated cleaning of household things.
- Checking - Checking door locks, switches, appliances, and stoves repeatedly.
- Orderliness - Expecting things to be arranged in a specific orderly manner.
- Counting - Have an urge to repeatedly count to a certain number or in specific patterns.
- Reassurance - Demand over reassurance or seeking approval constantly.
- Routine - Following a strict routine or rituals like silently repeating a prayer, word, or phrase.
Impact of OCD on daily life:
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can have an overwhelming impact on a person’s daily life.
- The thoughts of an OCD person create a significant level of anxiety and interfere with everyday activities like eating, drinking, reading, general cleaning, washing, shopping, etc.
- People who have compulsion and obsession symptoms may take many hours in a day, and this may cause major distress, thereby hindering their family and social relationships.
- Apart from this, they also have a negative impact on career. The condition of OCD is far closely linked to anxiety and depression, so it becomes hard for OCD people to interact with others.
- A person with OCD is more likely to struggle with social situations; even they don't hide their symptoms from other folks.
- An OCD person avoids any kind of effort that initiates to trigger their obsessive fears.
- Patients with OCD disorder possess a poor quality of life compared to normal people. Their mental health, emotional aspects and social behaviour are badly affected due to severe obsessions and compulsions.
The long term effects of OCD include -
- Social anxiety
- Panic disorder
- Chances of substance abuse
Generally, people with mild OCD can improve with self-care and the assistance of caretakers. However, moderate or severe OCD sufferers require appropriate treatment to enhance their quality of life and perform well at school, college, and office.