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Introduction to OCD

Mental disorders have always plagued many people, showing themselves in different incarnations. They could lead to breaking the everyday functioning of a person and becoming a damaging interference to their life. Unfortunately, many of them take time to develop, which means that sometimes it is difficult to notice the early signs and that by the time they are recognized, the disorders are in later stages. Because of this, it is important to recognize those disorders as soon as possible and seek out appropriate treatment when it is easier to do.


One of the prominent mental disorders that is widely diagnosed is OCD, which stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It combines elements that lead to psychological discomfort, the first of them being an obsession. Obsession can form around many subjects and present itself in the form of intrusive thoughts around the subject, which cause discomfort. Those are the thoughts that can emerge in anyone’s mind, but a person with OCD can’t shrug them off and instead becomes obsessed. They convince themselves of those thoughts’ accuracy and importance.  


This later leads to compulsive behavior, a particular set of rituals that are meant to nullify the thoughts and increase one’s mental resistance towards them. However, long-term, this behavior only serves to reinforce the perception of obsession as important or dangerous. This leads the person in question into a cycle of obsession and compulsion, which slowly plagues their mind. It can become so strong as to corrupt one’s thoughts or memories and make a person susceptible to paranoia and fear. 


There are many reasons one might become obsessive, depending on what the person in question feels strongly about. The most common obsessions include fear of contamination or forgetting to close the door to one’s flat. The desire for symmetry and constant cleanness is also quite common. Many people fear acting upon their thoughts. They can be focused on the fear of hurting someone or themselves or acting sacrilegiously if the person is religious. Those thoughts can be focused on shame and a fear of offending or making themselves look weak. There is no shortage of topics over which the obsessions can form.


They lead to compulsive actions, which the person must always do to resist those thoughts in their mind. This would include constant hand-washing or checking the door handle regularly before leaving. In the person’s mind, it is perceived as the only way out of the spiral and thus makes them feel like they are an utmost necessity. If there are specific triggers, especially ones that are connected to social interactions and people, the person with OCD might try to avoid them. 


Of course, this inevitably leads to negative consequences. First of all, focusing on compulsive behavior ends up increasing the tension in the person’s mind, inadvertently giving them more weight. The next obvious consequence is the waste of time. While not every individual compulsive action may take a while, if one combines every moment like this, it may end up with days and even weeks that are wasted for this. This makes it important to seek treatment so the thoughts can be distracted by something else. Finally, it may result in the individual in question purposefully avoiding triggers like social interactions, which may result in endless missed opportunities and wasted potential, eventually leading the person to a less-fulfilling life.


The common symptoms of OCD include a heightened state of anxiety, fear, and obsession with thoughts to the point of becoming a detriment to a person’s life, taking up more than 1 hour per day. OCD is known for making one feel as though they cannot think certain thoughts without repercussions, but an important part of treatment for OCD is accepting that some thoughts cannot be controlled. It is best to methodically remove the stigma built in mind around them so the reverse psychology effect makes their appearances more frequent. Spreading awareness of OCD will help build understanding around it and further help people afflicted with it.

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