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Friday, October 20, 2017

What is OCD?

OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental disorder that affects millions of people around the world. This kind of mental disorder is under similar kinds of anxiety problems. OCD is characterized both by obsessions, which are invasive thoughts that generate fears and anxieties, and compulsions, such as an urgent need to perform repetitive gestures or mental acts like counting or reciting a sentence in their heads. OCD compulsions can take on all sorts of forms of compulsions, such as saying a particular phrase out loud or even doing some repetitive motion with your hands. OCD sufferers often have no control over their obsessive thoughts. Therefore, they also find it difficult to resist their urge to perform their compulsions.

When it comes to OCD, there is obviously a lot of attention placed on the kinds of obsessive thoughts that plague people. And this is understandable, for a lot of anxiety disorders, the obsessive thoughts are the most distressing part of that kind of mental illness. So it is no surprise that a lot of the obsessive thoughts that OCD suffers have can seem trivial to other people. Just because a particular obsessive thought does not seem to be very distressing to one person, does not mean that it an OCD sufferer can feel the same way about it. When it comes to OCD, there are all sorts of thoughts that someone may face due to their anxiety problem.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD) are among the pathologies of anxiety. The people who suffer from OCD, are faced with worrying thoughts that are constantly coming back, these are called obsessions. They are forced to engage in specific rituals, which are called compulsions, to drive them away or prevent them from occurring. However these compulsive rituals rarely solve the anxiety and obsessive thoughts, and thus the OCD sufferer has to keep on performing the ritualistic compulsions to keep their anxious thoughts at bay. It would only provide temporary relief from their obsessive thoughts.

Common types of obsessive thoughts and their frequency

Fear of contamination

As many as 55% of those who suffer from OCD have some fear of contamination. Those who suffer from a fear of contamination may be afraid of dirt, germs, and sickness in general. This anxiety about germs could cause them to avoid dirty places or regularly wash their hands too much.

Aggressive thoughts

About half of the victims of OCD experience aggressive thoughts that are intrusive. It can cause them a lot of distress, as these aggressive thoughts may seem very violent and uncharacteristic of the person. While intrusive, aggressive thoughts are rarely carried about by OCD sufferers, it nevertheless causes them a lot of distress.

 

Symmetry and accuracy

Some OCD sufferers, about 36% of them, will have some obsession with symmetry. They may be obsessed with a certain number, needing everything to be that exact number. And they will go out of their way to ensure that they always will reach that specific number in whatever they do.

Fears

It is normal for people to have phobias or fears. However, in about 34% of OCD, their obsessive thoughts about phobias can happen constantly. In OCD victims, they may be so obsessed with recurring thoughts about their phobias, that they could be anxious all of the time. Those who have got an extreme obsession with their phobias may feel as if their fears are going to happen at any time unless they do their rituals to prevent that.

Sexual thoughts

OCD victims may also experience sexual thoughts that are very intrusive. Their intrusive sexual thoughts can come in the form of an obsession that causes them to suddenly think about explicit sexual acts other kinds of perverse thoughts, even if they do not wish to.

These are just some of the more common obsessive thoughts that victims of OCD can have. There are a lot more, but these are the kinds of thoughts that most OCD sufferers will experience. If you have experienced an overwhelming amount of these thoughts and you cannot seem to control them, then perhaps you could have OCD, and you may want to seek treatment for it.

General categories of OCD sufferers:

Based on the very common types of obsessive thoughts, there are general categories of OCD sufferers. Doctors and psychologists do this to have a quick way to come up with some reference to the OCD behavior that some people may exhibit.

Hoarders – OCD people who are hoarders may be compelled to keep on hoarding one specific or multiple kinds of items because they have obsessive thoughts about running out of that specific thing.

Counters – Some OCD sufferers may feel an urge to keep on counting things. It could cause them to unnecessarily count everything, from their food to the cars they see on the street.

Checkers – These are people who keep on having to double-check everything. They may try to check that all of the lights are truly off. And they will most commonly check to see if the stove or the burner is off too.

Thinkers – These are OCD victims who keep on having to ruminate over the same thoughts over and over again. They may keep on repeating the same thought in their head, as a way to correct or cleanse one thing that they are obsessing over.

Common types of compulsive behavior

Since there are many types of obsessive thoughts, there are also a lot of different kinds of compulsive behaviors and rituals as well. However, just like with the obsessive thoughts, the compulsive rituals can also be categorized too. So here are some of the various kinds of common compulsive rituals or behaviors.

Washing rituals

OCD victims with an obsession with dirt may wash their hands too much. These washing rituals help the OCD victim to feel cleaner and purer. They may keep on doing these washing rituals even to their detriment. OCD victims may even damage their skin from washing it too much.

Verification rituals

A lot of OCD victims may go through verification rituals. Those who keep on doing verification rituals may have to double-check everything that they do. And when they cannot double-check what they have done, this may cause them to panic a lot. Even when they double-check things, OCD victims may keep on worrying about it still. Common things that OCD victims may use in verification rituals include the light switch or the stove.

Superstitious rituals

Those who do a lot of this kind of ritual may be compelled to keep on saying a magic word whenever they get their obsessions triggered. However, there are all sorts of superstitious compulsions that some people may have such as wearing a color that they consider lucky.

Alignment compulsions

OCD victims with an alignment compulsion may seek to try to arrange everything until it feels right to them. It can cause them to arrange all sorts of kinds of things, which are most commonly their food.

Arithmomania

It means the compulsive behavior to count. OCD victims with arithmomania may have a very compulsive behavior to keep on counting things because they are obsessed with one kind of “perfect” number. And their compulsion means that they need to have a specific kind of number that they must count out when doing a specific kind of activity.

Accumulation rituals

Those with an accumulation compulsion are called hoarders. And since they worry a lot about running out of a specific kind of thing, they may try to hoard as much of it as possible. Common types of hoarded items can include food, money, and in a lot of cases rubbish.

Is OCD a serious problem?

Yes, OCD is a serious problem in the sense that is very common. Tens of millions of people around the world suffer from obsessive thoughts and irrational behaviors. It means that a lot of people around the world are suffering from thoughts that they cannot control. And that alone is a serious issue, after all, these obsessive thoughts can be troubling for a lot of people. And compulsive rituals can also have a negative impact on the lives of people. In serious cases, such as extreme hoarding or washing, compulsive behaviors may also affect the quality of the life of a person.

In addition to that problem, OCD is usually a sign or subset of anxiety. Thus, people with OCD can have a lot of anxiety and stress problems. They may also find it difficult to sleep because they suffer from insomnia due to their anxiety and recurring thoughts.

What can be done to treat OCD?

Psychotherapy – People with OCD respond well to therapy. In therapy, people can learn skills and techniques that can help them deal with their obsessive thoughts. Therapy may also help OCD sufferers with the cause of their OCD. It is because the therapist may help them pinpoint exactly why they could be having obsessive thoughts. In therapy, OCD sufferers may also learn calming techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, to help them deal with the distress caused by their anxiety and obsessive thoughts.

Drugs and medication – Psychologists may also prescribe drugs to lessen the obsessive thoughts. These kinds of drugs can be hypnotics, which can reduce the brain wave activity. And there are also drugs, such as sleeping pills, which help OCD sufferers with their insomnia problem.

What are the common drugs prescribed to people with OCD?

Zolpidem Tartrate – This is a hypnotic drug that is meant to induce sleep. Since a lot of OCD victims suffer from insomnia, Zolpidem is a commonly prescribed drug.

Paroxetine – This is a common kind of antidepressant for people who are suffering from OCD. It is meant to reduce the distress that people experience from having recurring thoughts and obsessions. And since it would reduce the frequency of those thoughts, this drug could also hopefully reduce the urgency of performing the compulsive rituals.

Sertraline – This is another antidepressant prescribed to people with OCD. It is not meant to be used by children under six years of age.

Benzodiazepines – This class of drugs is known as a hypnotic. It relaxed the person and reduced their brain activity. It helps OCD sufferers because it reduces the frequency and urgency of their obsessive thoughts. However, benzos are very addictive, and many people develop a reliance on it.

Is there a danger of these drugs for OCD victims?

There is a lot of danger to the use of prescription medication when it comes to OCD sufferers. It is because a lot of people who have OCD may turn to the use of drugs, especially benzodiazepines, to get relief from their obsessive thoughts. There is also a high chance of addiction since a lot of these prescribed drugs are very addictive. And those with OCD may form a reliance on these drugs.

It is considered drug abuse when people take too much of this drug. For example, Zolpidem tartrate used as a short-term solution to insomnia. But if a person is taking it every night to get to sleep, then they have a reliance on that drug.

Can drug rehab help addicts with OCD?

Those with OCD can benefit from going to drug rehab. If someone with OCD is taking some prescription medication for their anxiety, then it is only a matter of time until they develop an addiction. Drugs cannot truly get rid of the obsessive thoughts and the compulsions that arise because of those thoughts.

Learn skills to deal with OCD

Addicts in a rehab center may get the option to go through psychotherapy. The therapist can help you, using methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, to help teach you skills that can let you deal with your compulsive rituals and obsessive thoughts that cause them.

Deal with your addiction too

At a drug rehab center, you will learn all about the different behavioral and cognitive techniques to overcome your addiction. Addicts will also have no access to their drugs. Thus, they will be able to detox while they are in rehab completely. Within rehab, addicts will also get constant support. It can help them overcome their addictions too.