Liberty Psychological Association
by: Shervan K Shahhian
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (O.C.D.) features a series of unwanted thoughts and phobias or obsessions that can lead a person to do repetitive and compulsions behaviors. These obsessive compulsions can interfere with ones daily life and can cause the person significant distress.
One can try to stop or ignore these obsessions, but the problem is that it only increases and causes unwanted anxiety and distress. Finally, one will feel forced to perform compulsive behaviors so they can ease the stress. Despite all the efforts to let go or get rid of the bothersome and non-stop thoughts or stressful urges, that don’t go away. These types of obsessive urges leads to more and more ritualistic behavior. This is the vicious cycle of O.C.D.
O.C.D. is often connected to certain type of ritualistic behavior. as an example, an excessive phobia or getting contaminated by bacteria. To calm these contamination fears, one might compulsively wash hands, and shower until they bleed or their skin gets red or chapped.
If one has O.C.D, they may be embarrassed and ashamed about their obsessive condition, but medication and therapy treatment can be help them.
Symptoms of O.C.D:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder generally includes both compulsions and obsessions. But some might only have obsessive symptoms or only compulsive symptoms. One might understand or not understand that their compulsions and obsessions are unreasonable, excessive, it takes a great deal of their time, interfere with their daily life, work functioning, social functioning, and school.
O.C.D. obsessions are repeated, ongoing and not wanted thoughts, impulsiveness or images and cause the person distress or even anxiety. One might try not to pay attention to them or get away from them by performing a ritualistic compulsive behavior. These obsessions typically are intrusive, and when one is trying hard to think of or do other things.
Themes of Obsession are such as:
- Fear of getting sick, contaminated or getting dirty.
- Doubting ones self or others and having a hard time with tolerating uncertainty.
- Extreme order, wanting things done in an orderly fashion and following an exact system.
- Extreme fear of loss of control, or horrific or aggressive thoughts about losing control and harming others or themselves.
- Constant unwanted thoughts, that can be: religious, aggressive, or sexual in nature.
Some examples of obsession symptoms and signs may include:
- Fear of being infected by touching objects that others have touched before them.
- Having constant doubts about: if they have locked the door or not?, or did they turned off the oven or not?
- Overwhelming stress when things aren’t in a certain order or positioned in a certain way.
- Scary mental images of driving a car into a crowd of innocent people.
- Intrusive thoughts about causing an embarrassment, or shouting obscenities or acting like a fool in public.
- Having unpleasant mental sexual images.
- Staying away from situations that can trigger obsessions, such as getting contaminated by shaking hands of others.
Compulsion O.C.D. Symptoms:
O.C.D. compulsions are ongoing set of behaviors that can make a person feel driven to perform.
Ones O.C.D. behavior or mental acts are meant to reduce discomfort and anxiety related to their compulsive obsessions or to get them to stop something bad from happening. However, continuance of these compulsions brings the effected person no pleasure and may offer only a short relief from anxiety.
One may make up different rules and or rituals to follow that they think it can help calm their anxiety, when one is having obsessive thoughts. When these obsessive compulsions are extreme and not realistic they solve no problems that they are intended to fix.
The themes of these obsessions, compulsions typically are:
- Excessive washing and cleaning.
- Doubting and checking.
- Contentious counting.
- Extreme order.
- Constantly following a strict routine.
- Constant demand for reassurance.
Some examples of compulsion, their signs and symptoms may include:
- Washing hands until their skin becomes raw and it bleeds.
- Checking doors over and over again to make sure that they’re locked.
- Checking the oven over and over again to make sure it’s off.
- Constantly counting in specific patterns.
- Constantly and silently preoccupied with repeating a certain prayer, word or phrase.
- Arranging the canned foods to face the same direction.
The intensity may vary:
O.C.D. it typically begins in the teens or younger adulthood, but it can even start in childhood. Signs, symptoms usually starts gradually as they tend to vary in intensity throughout a person’s life. The types of compulsion and obsessions that one may experience can also change over a person’s life time. Symptoms may generally worsen when they experience more stress. O.C.D, is usually considered a whole life disorder, meaning it will take over the person’s life and it will last their whole life time. O.C.D, can in some have mild to moderate symptoms or in others can be very severe and time demanding til it becomes debilitating.
When Should a Person Seek Professional Help:
Perfectionist are very different than people suffering from O.C.D. Because perfectionist are those who require flawless outcomes or results. O.C.D. obsessive thoughts are not just worries about real life problems, or having clean things around or in order.
If a person compulsions and obsessions are affecting their quality of life, they should see medical doctor or mental health specialist.
What Are the Causes of O.C.D:
The total causes of obsessive-compulsive disorder are not fully understood at this time. But the main theories may include:
- Biological factors: O.C.D. may be a result of alterations in the body’s own natural chemistry or brain functions.
- Genetically effected: O.C.D. may have a genetic factors, but specific genes have not yet been identified.
- Learned Behaviors: Obsessive phobia’s and compulsive behaviors can be learned from observing family members obsessions which gradually learned over time.
Risk Factors of O.C.D:
Risk factors that may push the risk higher till a person develops or triggers obsessive-compulsive disorder may include:
- Family history of O.C.D: Having parents, siblings or other family members with the same disorder can increase a person’s risk of developing O.C.D.
- Stressful events in life: If a person experiences stressful or traumatic events, the risk can increase. This reaction can, (for an unknown reason) trigger obsessive rituals, trigger the intrusive thoughts, and emotional distress characteristic of O.C.D.
- A combination of other mental health disorders: O.C.D. may be related to other mental health disorders, or an combination of different mental health disorders such as: anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, depression, substance abuse or tic disorders.
Complications of O.C.D:
Issues resulting from (O.C.D.) obsessive-compulsive disorder can include, among others things:
- A lot of time spent engaging in ritualistic behaviors.
- Medical health issues, such as skin disorders and: contact dermatitis from frequent hand-washing and or showering.
- Difficulty going to work, school and or social activities.
- Relationships issues.
- Overall low quality of life resulting from their realistic, compulsive and obsessive thoughts and behaviors.
- Suicide as a very unfortunate means to end the suffering, Suicidal thoughts and behavior.
Prevention of O.C.D:
There’s no known sure plan to prevent (O.C.D.) obsessive-compulsive disorder. But, getting professional treatment as soon as possible may help prevent O.C.D. from getting worse and improving ones quality of life.