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A Guide to Understanding OCD

A Guide to Understanding OCD



OCD is hard to detect but being aware of the signs and symptoms of OCD will help you identify and help your loved one seek timely treatment. Proper treatment and care can help reduce the symptoms of OCD and make them manageable. 

At Cadabams, we ensure that there’s professional support with you throughout your recovery journey even after treatment. Our expert team of specialists work round the clock to provide you with care that you deserve. We care for you and are with you every step of the way.

If you or your loved one is suffering from OCD, reach out to us @+91 9611194949.     

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder where the individuals usually become impulsive and persistent with unwanted images and thoughts that keep running through their minds and causes extreme distress. Seeking professional help can help manage these symptoms. 

According to NIMHANS, Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects around 2 million people in India. There are severe cases of OCD that can dramatically interfere and cause overwhelming anxiety and depression episodes affecting daily life.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of mental illness that leads to repeated unnecessary thoughts or sensations (obsessions). This may or may not be accompanied by the desire to do something repetitively (compulsions). Most people show symptoms of both compulsions and obsessions.

Researchers and mental health professionals believe that environmental and neurobiological predispositions, collectively, play a vital role. This is because the individual experiences intrusive and unwanted thoughts, along with compulsive behavioral patterns. OCD often begins during childhood and gets severe and frequent during early adulthood or adolescence.

OCD is not just about habits like biting your nails or having consistent negative thoughts. An obsessive thought can be about favoring certain numbers or associating colors as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ A compulsive habit, can be to wash your hands numerous times after coming in contact with something dirty. Even though you don’t want to think or do such things, you are unable to stop.

Every individual has habits or thoughts that are repetitive sometimes, but many wonder what sets your normal habits apart from OCD behaviors. Well, individuals diagnosed with OCD have actions or thoughts that:

  • They engage for at least an hour a day
  • Are beyond their control
  • Are neither fun nor joyful and causes stress and makes them anxious
  • Hinders work, social life, or other aspects of life

Most patients are aware of their obsessions, thoughts, or emotions; they know that the OCD compulsions are not rational. They have a tough time maintaining their focus off the obsessions or putting an end to the compulsive actions.

What are the Causes of OCD?

Almost everyone experiences random, strange, and intrusive thoughts occasionally. Some individuals can dismiss these thoughts from consciousness and move on with their lives. However, these aimless thoughts are ‘stuck’ in an OCD patient’s mind. Let us take the example of junk mail as the mind to explain this easily. Some people have a spam filter and can completely ignore incoming junk mail. While people with OCD have a spam filter that doesn’t work, and the junk mail keeps piling up.

Soon the mails that represent various random thoughts will exceed the important mail, and the individual gets overwhelmed.

Causes:

Many experts suggest that OCD is caused because of communication errors among different parts of the brain. This includes the orbitofrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex (both in the front of the brain), the striatum, and the thalamus (deeper parts of the brain). Abnormalities in neurotransmitter systems – chemicals like dopamine, glutamate, serotonin, and others, deliver messages between brain cells, and they are involved in causing OCD.

Some also believe that OCD is most likely the outcome of a mixture of genetic, cognitive, behavioral, neurobiological, and environmental aspects that trigger the disorder in a particular person at a specific point in time.

What are the Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

OCD is a severe anxiety disorder that causes two major things in a person – obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are those unwelcoming urges, thoughts, doubts, worries repeatedly appearing in an individual’s mind. Compulsions are the repetitive activities that a person does to reduce anxiety due to obsession.

The people dealing with OCD, experience emotions that go beyond ordinary worrying and double-checking. These behaviors and thoughts seem to be magnified in a way that they interfere with their daily life activities.

What is worse is they develop severe depression and anxiety which intensifies their distress but also complicates the recovery process.

The obsessions and compulsions are gradual, and we often fail to recognize this as a mental illness. When obsessive-compulsive disorder eventually shows the signs that interfere with daily life, individuals try hiding their compulsions from others.

They even try to deal with symptoms by using their willpower. The patients often get embarrassed about these obsessive thoughts and compulsions. Hence people with OCD may avoid mentioning their symptoms.

Here are a few OCD symptoms to look for:

  • Repeated unwanted thoughts or ideas
  • Aggressive impulses
  • Fear of contamination
  • Signs of hurting the people they love
  • Fear of getting harmed by someone
  • Constantly checking or counting things
  • Repeated cleaning things
  • Washing hands now and then
  • Constantly arranging the items in a certain way.

If you come across these signs of OCD in yourself or your loved one, then you must consult a medical health professional to know the intensity of the illness and get the treatment. Once you notice any of the signs mentioned above, you should get help immediately.

If your loved one is suffering from OCD, then it is important to maintain a non-judgmental and calm approach for their better living.

How can you support your loved one with OCD?

Recognize the signs and symptoms of OCD and avoid criticising a person with OCD. People with OCD get blamed if their symptoms get worse. Hence, this kind of emotion leads to anxiety. You must recognize these as signs of OCD not as their personality traits.

Build a supportive environment for them– Be patient and kind, as much as possible. Your loved one needs to get through these problems at their own pace. In the meantime, they also require your support, encouragement, and acceptance as a person.

Positive and clear communication is vital– Communication is important to strike a balance between your support to a loved one and standing up to OCD by not distressing them.

Remember, people get well at different paces- Be patient with your loved one’s recovery from OCD. There is a huge variation in the severity of OCD symptoms between different individuals. Also, a slow and gradual improvement can be better to prevent relapse.

Support your loved ones, not their rituals– Do not play with your close one’s obsessive-compulsive disorder rituals. This will just reinforce their behavior.

Do not let OCD take over your family life– Family as a whole should gather and make a decision. Think about how you all will work to tackle your loved one’s OCD symptoms. Also, try to keep the home a stress-free zone.

Encourage them to take medications, as prescribed– The best step as a family member or friend is encouraging and supporting them to seek OCD treatments and medications.

If you are concerned about your loved one’s OCD, then as a family member, you should encourage them to seek treatment by getting OCD help.

Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Understanding OCD can seem like a complex subject, but learning about the OCD treatment options can help in overcoming it. Receiving proper treatment with the best quality support and care, while sticking to a plan is the key point to long-term recovery from OCD.

OCD is a chronic disorder, but also a treatable medical condition. People suffering from OCD can learn to manage or stop their compulsive ritual behaviors. They can also decrease their obsessive thoughts with the help of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

CBT for OCD is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on addressing the problems of a person with OCD to help them to explore alternative ways of thinking patterns and challenge their thoughts through behavioral exercises.

CBT alone works best in treating the illness, but for some, the combination of both CBT & medication can prove effective. Medications may help in reducing the anxiety enough to start, and the treatment will eventually progress to therapy.

OCD combats men and women, in similar proportions. There is a high chance of coexisting illnesses that get coupled with OCD such as depression, anxiety, food addiction, ADHD, and much more. This condition can only be minimized or made manageable by availing of the right treatment options.

Why is early diagnosis important for OCD?

OCD must be diagnosed correctly at an early stage so that it can be treated well and effectively. Once you get an earlier diagnosis, it makes the management and recovery process much easier.

OCD Help at Cadabams

 Cadabams is known for its 89% success rate with OCD treatment with an average of 200+ rehabilitated individuals, every year. At Cadabams, we offer personalised OCD treatment plans catering to all the needs of the individual suffering from OCD and their family members/caregivers. 

Our multispecialty team of experts are with you every step of the way from diagnosis to post-care. Our evidence-based treatment approach ensures steady recovery and reintegration of patients  in society. We are here to help!  

You can reach us @ +91 96111 94949 to get more information about understanding OCD in a detailed manner and to get the best possible help for your loved one.

Disclaimer – We strive to treat our patients with dignity and the utmost sensitivity. We understand that mental health illness is a disease and not a sign of weakness. The term mental health issue is used not in a derogatory fashion but to remain relevant to user search trends and common usage. In case you or a loved one is struggling with OCD or you are caring for one, do share your unique viewpoint on how we can improve this content for our readers, please reach out to us at info@cadabams.org