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OCD- A misunderstood disorder

In this article, we will be discussing what OCD is, the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and the stigma surrounding this disorder, and read the personal story of a sufferer.


 As a part of a civilized conversation, one must have heard someone mention “how much” OCD they are. Whenever there is a person who says they suffer from OCD, there will be one guy who goes, “I’m also a little OCD, how does it matter?”


It is true that every mental disorder is somewhat misunderstood by people. But upon close examination, we can comfortably say that OCD is the most misunderstood disorder


It has been difficult for those who suffer from OCD to mention their disorder in public because most of those people will brush it off as a personality trait that is actually useful when truly it is a serious disorder that causes quite a lot of anxiety to those suffering from it


Most people reading this will know the full form of OCD but not what it entails. To the outside world, this disorder is just a beneficial personality quirk characterized by excessive cleaning and organizing.


But when you ask those suffering from it, you will understand how it cripples them and restricts them from performing basic activities in their daily life.


Shedding light on this subject has been long due. In order to break the bubble around OCD, one must first understand the basics of this disorder.


To begin with, let us understand what OCD is.


What Google has to say?


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears that lead one to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.


A definition coming from a sufferer:


“Most days, I find it hard to get up and do my daily chores. There are constant unwanted thoughts that cripple me.it feels as though my mind is always at war. These thoughts don’t go away no matter what I do. I try to distract myself but I always end up performing actions that lead to unproductivity. You can think of these thoughts as obsessions. These obsessions cause anxiety and an uncomfortable feeling. In order to reduce this feeling, I feel like I need to perform certain actions.”


 This is just the tip of the iceberg. we will further discuss the many problems that arise with OCD


Before we move forward, let me present a simple example that will help you understand the concept better.


 


 


 For eg, the thought in my mind is that my hands are unclean. Now in order to get rid of this feeling, one might perform actions (compulsions) such as repeatedly washing hands. Now you’d say that any person would wash their hands if they think they are unclean. But people with OCD have these constant thoughts lurking in the mind telling them that they have to wash their hands again and again until it becomes a cycle.so they wash their hands  not once or twice but 15-20 times or more


While it is true that we all perform repetitive actions and cleanliness is common but there are 4 things a person with OCD deals with


·         Their compulsions take up more than an hour


·         They do not enjoy performing them


·         Actions are beyond their control


·         It interferes with their daily routine


Now that we have established what OCD means, let us understand what causes it.


 


The cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder is not fully understood. Several people believe in several different causes, but the most common ones are:


 


·         Genetic factors:


it is possible to acquire OCD  from a parent


 


·         Biological/neurological factors:


Development of OCD has been linked to a chemical imbalance of serotonin in the brain.


 


·         Personal experience:


It is possible for a person to develop OCD after certain traumatic experiences. For eg, if touching rat poison causes a serious rash, one might indulge in practices such as frequent hand washing to avoid such incidents in future.


 


 


We have now covered the causes. It is time to discuss the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.


 


It is common for people to check and recheck a lock on the door or the gas stove once or twice but have you ever gone back 30 times to check a lock or the gas stove?


Probably not. This is what OCD entails. Let us establish symptoms:


 


Obsessive-compulsive disorder usually includes both obsessions and compulsions. But it's also possible to have only obsession symptoms or only compulsion symptoms. You may or may not realize that your obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable, but they take up a great deal of time and interfere with your daily routine and social, school or work functioning.


 


 


 


Obsession symptoms:


 


OCD obsessions are repeated and persistent unwanted thoughts, urges or images that cause distress and anxiety. One might try to ignore by them by performing a compulsive behavior or ritual.  Obsessions have certain theme to them


·         Fear of contamination


·         Doubting


·         Needing order and symmetry


·         Thoughts that are violent in nature


·         Unwanted thoughts on subjects such as religion.


 


 


Examples of obsession include:


·         Fearing that you are dirty because you touched something


·         Unwanted thoughts such as violent thoughts about harming yourself or others.


·         Intense anxiety when things aren’t the way they are supposed to be according to that person.


·         Doubts whether you have locked the door or not.


 


Compulsion symptoms:


 


 OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviors that one performs to reduce the anxiety caused by obsessions.


 


Compulsions also have themes.


·         Counting


·         Orderliness


·         Following  a strict routine


·         Checking


·         Washing or cleaning


·         Needing reassurance


 


 


Examples of compulsions include:


·         Hand washing until skin peels off


·         Checking the same door 30 times


·         Putting things in a particular way


·         Silently repeating a word or phrase.


 


Just like there are types of cancer, we also have types of OCD that plague the mind.


·         Checking: going back to heck something even if it means extreme physical stress.


·         Contamination: fear of being contaminated by being touched or by touching a surface


·         Symmetry: need to organize things in a particular way. (You might think this is common. but people with OCD experience  severe anxiety when things are not according to them)


·         Intrusive thoughts: experience thoughts that are violent or disturbing causing anxiety and panic.


 


 


Let us now burst some myths:


 


·         Myth: all people with OCD are clean freaks


Fact: it is true that people with OCD can be obsessed by being clean but that is not true for very sufferer. They might also be messy and unhygienic.


 


 


·         Myth: people who like being organized have OCD.


Fact:  OCD is not just about cleaning and organizing as we discussed. OCD has to be diagnosed by a medical professional and needs medical treatment.


 


·         Myth: people with OCD are lazy


Fact: people suffering with OCD are often labeled as lazy. in actuality, they might be fighting thoughts that take up all their time and compulsions they feel like they need to perform disturb their routine.


 


Now that we are clear with definition, causes and symptoms, types and facts, it is time to view things from the perspective of a sufferer. For confidentiality purposes, the names have not been mentioned


“I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 19. For several months leading up to my diagnosis, I was miserable. I was not able to perform basic activities and seldom able to concentrate. I knew from the beginning that his was not normal. It is true that people do check and recheck but I had no trust upon myself. I would check the same door 50 times, yes, 50, not exaggerating. I have to repeat a phrase 10 times, not 6 or 11 but exactly 10 times to avoid some disastrous event.


All these actions were not performed with my liking. I felt like I had to do them in order to live. There are constant thoughts in my mind that cause severe anxiety that forbid me from doing well in social settings.


One might assume that these actions are performed or these obsessions exist because I like them but that is far from the truth. Believe me when I say this, I would give up my favorite food to stop these.


After all this, one might think that people around me supported  and helped me cope, but instead all I received were texts that brushed off my suffering as nothing but just a beneficial quirk.”


This anecdote has been given by a friend who is a sufferer. As we have read, it is comfortable to assume that this disorder causes people to lose their sanity eventually.


Now you may ask, is there a treatment for this?


Yes, there is.


But to be treated we must first understand when to go to a doctor. Perfectionism is normal but when it does not let you do anything else then it is time to consult.


Treatment for OCD have been found to be very useful. Depending on severity, treatments range from medications to therapies. In mild cases, cognitive behavioral therapy does the job but if the case is severe, medications are used.


How can you help someone with OCD?


It may become frustrating to deal with those suffering from OCD but one must remember that they are as miserable as other person if not more.


If you see anyone with the above mentioned symptoms, ask them to see a doctor. You can help them by not accommodating their compulsions. And above all, just be patient.


 


 


 


 


 


 In this article, we will be discussing what OCD is, what are the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, the stigma surrounding this disorder and read the personal story of a sufferer.


 As a part of a civilized conversation one must have heard someone mention “how much” OCD they are. Whenever there is a person who says they suffer from OCD, there will be one guy who goes, “I’m also a little OCD, how does it matter?”


It is true that every mental disorder is somewhat misunderstood by people. But upon close examination, we can comfortably say that OCD is the most misunderstood disorder


It has been difficult for those who suffer from OCD to mention their disorder in public because most of those people will brush it off as a personality trait that is actually useful when truly it is a serious disorder that causes quiet a lot of anxiety to those suffering from it


Most people reading this will know the full form of OCD but not what it entails. To the outside world, this disorder is just a beneficial personality quirk  characterized by excessive cleaning and organizing.


But when you ask those suffering from it, you will understand how it cripples them and restricts them from performing basic activities in their daily life.


Shedding light on this subject has been long due. In order to break the bubble around OCD, one must first understand the basics of this disorder.


To begin with, let us understand what OCD is.


What Google has to say?


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears that lead one to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.


A definition coming from a sufferer:


“Most days, I find it hard to get up and do my daily chores. There are constant unwanted thoughts that cripple me.it feels as though my mind is always at war. These thoughts don’t go away no matter what I do. I try to distract myself but I always end up performing actions that lead to unproductivity. You can think of these thoughts as obsessions. These obsessions cause anxiety and an uncomfortable feeling. In order to reduce this feeling, I feel like I need to perform certain actions.”


 This is just the tip of the iceberg. we will further discuss the many problems that arise with OCD


Before we move forward, let me present a simple example that will help you understand the concept better.


 


 


 For eg, the thought in my mind is that my hands are unclean. Now in order to get rid of this feeling, one might perform actions (compulsions) such as repeatedly washing hands. Now you’d say that any person would wash their hands if they think they are unclean. But people with OCD have these constant thoughts lurking in the mind telling them that they have to wash their hands again and again until it becomes a cycle.so they wash their hands  not once or twice but 15-20 times or more


While it is true that we all perform repetitive actions and cleanliness is common but there are 4 things a person with OCD deals with


·         Their compulsions take up more than an hour


·         They do not enjoy performing them


·         Actions are beyond their control


·         It interferes with their daily routine


Now that we have established what OCD means, let us understand what causes it.


 


The cause of obsessive compulsive disorder is not fully understood. Several people believe in several different causes, but the most common ones are:


 


·         Genetic factors:


it is possible to acquire OCD  from a parent


 


·         Biological/neurological factors:


Development of OCD has been linked to a chemical imbalance of serotonin in the brain.


 


·         Personal experience:


It is possible for a person to develop OCD after certain traumatic experiences. For eg, if touching rat poison causes a serious rash, one might indulge in practices such as frequent hand washing to avoid such incidents in future.


 


 


We have now covered the causes. It is time to discuss the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.


 


It is common for people to check and recheck a lock on the door or the gas stove once or twice but have you ever gone back 30 times to check a lock or the gas stove?


Probably not. This is what OCD entails. Let us establish symptoms:


 


Obsessive-compulsive disorder usually includes both obsessions and compulsions. But it's also possible to have only obsession symptoms or only compulsion symptoms. You may or may not realize that your obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable, but they take up a great deal of time and interfere with your daily routine and social, school or work functioning.


 


 


 


Obsession symptoms:


 


OCD obsessions are repeated and persistent unwanted thoughts, urges or images that cause distress and anxiety. One might try to ignore by them by performing a compulsive behavior or ritual.  Obsessions have certain theme to them


·         Fear of contamination


·         Doubting


·         Needing order and symmetry


·         Thoughts that are violent in nature


·         Unwanted thoughts on subjects such as religion.


 


 


Examples of obsession include:


·         Fearing that you are dirty because you touched something


·         Unwanted thoughts such as violent thoughts about harming yourself or others.


·         Intense anxiety when things aren’t the way they are supposed to be according to that person.


·         Doubts whether you have locked the door or not.


 


Compulsion symptoms:


 


 OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviors that one performs to reduce the anxiety caused by obsessions.


 


Compulsions also have themes.


·         Counting


·         Orderliness


·         Following  a strict routine


·         Checking


·         Washing or cleaning


·         Needing reassurance


 


 


Examples of compulsions include:


·         Hand washing until skin peels off


·         Checking the same door 30 times


·         Putting things in a particular way


·         Silently repeating a word or phrase.


 


Just like there are types of cancer, we also have types of OCD that plague the mind.


·         Checking: going back to heck something even if it means extreme physical stress.


·         Contamination: fear of being contaminated by being touched or by touching a surface


·         Symmetry: need to organize things in a particular way. (You might think this is common. but people with OCD experience  severe anxiety when things are not according to them)


·         Intrusive thoughts: experience thoughts that are violent or disturbing causing anxiety and panic.


 


 


Let us now burst some myths:


 


·         Myth: all people with OCD are clean freaks


Fact: it is true that people with OCD can be obsessed by being clean but that is not true for very sufferer. They might also be messy and unhygienic.


 


 


·         Myth: people who like being organized have OCD.


Fact:  OCD is not just about cleaning and organizing as we discussed. OCD has to be diagnosed by a medical professional and needs medical treatment.


 


·         Myth: people with OCD are lazy


Fact: people suffering with OCD are often labeled as lazy. in actuality, they might be fighting thoughts that take up all their time and compulsions they feel like they need to perform disturb their routine.


 


Now that we are clear with definition, causes and symptoms, types and facts, it is time to view things from the perspective of a sufferer. For confidentiality purposes, the names have not been mentioned


“I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 19. For several months leading up to my diagnosis, I was miserable. I was not able to perform basic activities and seldom able to concentrate. I knew from the beginning that his was not normal. It is true that people do check and recheck but I had no trust upon myself. I would check the same door 50 times, yes, 50, not exaggerating. I have to repeat a phrase 10 times, not 6 or 11 but exactly 10 times to avoid some disastrous event.


All these actions were not performed with my liking. I felt like I had to do them in order to live. There are constant thoughts in my mind that cause severe anxiety that forbid me from doing well in social settings.


One might assume that these actions are performed or these obsessions exist because I like them but that is far from the truth. Believe me when I say this, I would give up my favorite food to stop these.


After all this, one might think that people around me supported  and helped me cope, but instead all I received were texts that brushed off my suffering as nothing but just a beneficial quirk.”


This anecdote has been given by a friend who is a sufferer. As we have read, it is comfortable to assume that this disorder causes people to lose their sanity eventually.


Now you may ask, is there a treatment for this?


Yes, there is.


But to be treated we must first understand when to go to a doctor. Perfectionism is normal but when it does not let you do anything else then it is time to consult.


Treatment for OCD have been found to be very useful. Depending on severity, treatments range from medications to therapies. In mild cases, cognitive behavioral therapy does the job but if the case is severe, medications are used.


How can you help someone with OCD?


It may become frustrating to deal with those suffering from OCD but one must remember that they are as miserable as other person if not more.


If you see anyone with the above mentioned symptoms, ask them to see a doctor. You can help them by not accommodating their compulsions. And above all, just be patient.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


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