Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Other names: OCD

DEFINITION

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions). It's possible to have only obsessions or only compulsions and still have OCD. Individuals with OCD may feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease distress and anxiety.

SYMPTOMS

Obsession symptoms: Repeated, persistent, unwanted urges or images causing distress. Themes include fear of contamination, orderliness, aggressive thoughts, and unwanted thoughts.

Compulsion symptoms: Repetitive behaviors driven by the need to prevent anxiety related to obsessions. Themes include washing, counting, checking, and demanding reassurances.

CAUSES

The cause of OCD is not fully understood but may involve biological factors like changes in brain chemistry or genetics. Environmental factors such as infections are also thought to play a role.

RISK FACTORS

Factors increasing the risk of developing OCD include family history and exposure to stressful life events triggering intrusive thoughts and rituals.

COMPLICATIONS

Complications associated with OCD include difficulty attending work or school, troubled relationships, anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and contact dermatitis from frequent hand-washing.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Prepare for your appointment by noting symptoms, personal information, medications, and questions for your healthcare provider. Questions may include inquiries about OCD diagnosis and treatment options.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis of OCD involves physical exams, lab tests, psychological evaluations, and meeting specific criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment for OCD includes psychotherapy (exposure and response prevention) and medications (commonly antidepressants). Therapy aims to help manage obsessions and compulsions effectively.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

Early treatment may help prevent worsening of OCD symptoms. Lifestyle changes like regular exercise, healthy diet, adequate sleep, stress management techniques can positively impact treatment outcomes.

COPING AND SUPPORT

Coping with OCD can be challenging; education about the condition, joining support groups, staying focused on recovery goals, finding healthy outlets, learning relaxation techniques, and maintaining regular activities can aid in managing OCD effectively.


QUESTIONS

  1. What are obsessions in OCD?

Obsessions are repeated unwanted urges or images causing distress.

  1. What are some examples of obsession signs and symptoms in OCD?

Examples include fear of contamination, doubts about locked doors/stoves, intense stress over orderliness.

  1. What are compulsions in OCD?

Compulsions are repetitive behaviors driven by the need to prevent anxiety related to obsessions.

  1. Give examples of compulsion signs and symptoms in OCD.

Examples include hand-washing until skin becomes raw, checking doors/stove repeatedly.

  1. What are some risk factors for developing OCD?

Risk factors include a family history of the disorder and exposure to stressful life events.

  1. How is OCD diagnosed?

Diagnosis involves meeting specific criteria outlined in the DSM along with physical exams and psychological evaluations.

  1. What are the main treatments for OCD?

The main treatments for OCD are psychotherapy (exposure and response prevention) and medications (commonly antidepressants).

  1. How can lifestyle changes positively impact OCD treatment?

Regular exercise, healthy diet, adequate sleep, stress management techniques can positively impact treatment outcomes.

  1. What are some coping strategies for managing OCD?

Coping strategies include education about the condition, joining support groups, finding healthy outlets for energy.

  1. Can you stop taking medication for OCD abruptly?

No, it's essential to consult with your doctor before stopping medication as abrupt discontinuation can lead to withdrawal-like symptoms.