Obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, is a psychiatric anxiety disorder that many people suffer from. It is also known as obsessive compulsive personality disorder due to the fact that your personality can be drastically affected or even changed by the disorder. Typically, the characteristics of those who are affected by OCD are compulsive behaviors: thoughts or compulsions to repeat rituals or actions over and over. These compulsive behaviors will often relieve the individual from the anxiety or stress that they experience on a daily basis. However, the relief does not last long before they feel the obsession to repeat the behavior. There are several different types of obsessive compulsive disorders and we suggest that the loved one receives a diagnosis from a mental health professional. Some people are not even aware that that the anxiety they are suffering from is obsessive compulsive disorder. They may feel this anxiety and live with the symptoms for years, without ever receiving treatment. Fortunately, there is help for this disorder. Treatment is readily available and there are professionals who are specifically experienced in helping those who suffer from OCD.
The following paragraph will give some information regarding symptoms of OCD. Keep in mind that these are just a portion of the symptoms and that OCD can manifest itself in many ways. Typically, those suffering will experience the urge to repeat a behavior to relieve the terrible anxiety associated with this disorder. An example might be that the individual has a fear of germs. They will constantly have the urge to clean themselves and be certain that their body, clothing and personal space is absolutely germ free. This includes obsessively disinfecting their homes and washing their hands over and over.
Fear is the driving factor for OCD. The sufferers, unfortunately, will never feel as though they have reached their goal. After the ritual, eventually the feeling will sneak up on them again, and they will be back to the beginning. It is a vicious circle of uncontrollable behavior driven by fear. Organization or “order” may also be a sign of OCD. Perhaps the loved one must have everything in a specific place, or set a specific way and they cannot relax until everything is in its place. Once they believe they have everything organized, they re-check to be sure that nothing has moved.
Fear of safety or well-being is also a factor. One may be obsessed with making sure that they have secured the home before leaving. They will check and re-check the stove for fear of a fire, they will check and re-check the faucets for fear of a flood or they will lock and re-lock doors and windows several times before leaving their home. Often times, they will count, or decide on a specific number of times a task should be done before they are convinced it has been done properly. For example, they may lock each window 12 times, turn the coffee pot on and turn off 12 times, and finally lock the door 12 times before leaving.
Here are some other symptoms of OCD:
- Making sure that both sides are even. If they accidentally touch a wall with their right arm, they are compelled to touch the wall with the left arm.
- Obsession with numbers
- Exact routine
- Sexual thoughts
- Fear of body secretions, germs, dirt
- Fear of insanity
Treatment for OCD
Experts believe that the best treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder is cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy and medication. One or any combination of these treatment plans may be helpful in relieving the loved one from some of the urges. Some people may seek help on their own. Others may be reluctant to treatment, or not even be aware of their behavior. In these cases, a professional interventionist may assist the family in bringing the loved one to treatment for the disorder. The important thing is that you or your family member does not have to live with these fears. There is treatment available and people who know what you are going through are just waiting to help you.
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