Thursday, March 15, 2012

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD)is a chronic or long-term illness. Although unrecognized by most people, OCD affects many people. Because the symptoms are so severe, OCD can be devastating. Anxiety is the most prominent symptom of OCD. Patients often cannot maintain emotional and social relations, have difficulty coping with daily life events, and have problems studying or working. Consequently, they face emotional and economic losses. 

Symptoms of OCD vary with each person and include the following:

Obsessive thoughts

  • Fear of dirt or germs or overconcern about body smells/secretions or the proper functioning of the body
  • Overconcern with order, neatness, and exactness
  • Fear of thinking bad thoughts or doing something embarrassing
  • Constantly thinking of certain sounds, words, or numbers or a preoccupation with counting or checking
  • Constant need for approval or the need to apologize
  • Fear that something terrible will happen or fear of harming yourself or someone else
  • Disturbing thoughts of violence. Sometimes the sufferer's violent thoughts will be directed toward themselves or loved ones.
Compulsive behaviors
  • Constant hand washing due to an extreme fear of contamination, showering, or brushing teeth or the overuse of items to hide body smells
  • Constantly cleaning, straightening, and ordering certain objects
  • Excessive repetition of a procedure or ritual -- Repeatedly checking zippers and buttons on clothing; Checking lights, appliances, or doors again and again to be sure they are turned off or closed; Repeating certain physical activities, such as sitting down and getting up from a chair; Religious rituals, such as constant silent praying
  • Hoarding, which is the constant saving of useless items. The homes of OCD sufferers who hoard maybe become piled with garbage, because some people cannot even stand to throw away empty boxes and containers.
  • Asking the same question or saying the same thing over and over -- A word or phrase, repeated mentally. This also applies to music. A sufferer may have a song repeated in their head for days or weeks.
  • Avoiding public places or taking extreme measures to prevent harm to yourself or others
  • Constant need for symmetry of objects.
Sometimes the disorder progresses because it is not diagnosed and therefore not treated. Sometimes the patient believes it will spontaneously go away, but it rarely does. Sometimes the patient, family, and friends deal with the symptoms in a way that is not helpful and in fact very often destructive. With proper treatment, however, the chances of recovery are good. Treatments found to be successful include behavioural and cognitive therapy and drug therapy. Following treatment, patients can function once again. They can recover their losses and join the mainstream. Those with OCD should never give up. 

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