Obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by unwanted persistent thoughts over an irrational fear or phobia. Affected people are driven by intrusive thoughts or images so intense and frequent that the disorder may become debilitating. Most people with the disorder experience severe anxiety and depression. The hallmark of the disorder is that the obsessions and compulsions suffered by the individual interfere with a normal and healthy quality of life.
Signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
Obsessions are defined as intrusive, persistent and unwanted thoughts, ideas or images that do not make sense and occur repeatedly. Frequently, compulsive obsessive disorders include a reluctance to shake hands with others due to an irrational fear of germs. Affected persons may have an intense desire to straighten objects on a table. Signs of the obsessive-compulsive disorder include:
- Rough dry hands from frequent washing to remove germs
- Tardiness to work because of frequently returning home to check locks or the gas on the stove
- Hair loss or bald spots from pulling out hair
- Sores or cuts from picking at the skin
- Reluctance to touch doorknobs or similar objects that may harbor germs
- Excessive attentiveness to neatness or tidiness
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Symptoms:
Compulsions are described as repetitive behaviors or rituals that the sufferer is driven to perform to alleviate their anxiety. Sufferers may be compelled to decrease the intrusive thoughts by checking and re-checking and may create rituals that will help temporarily reduce their anxiety when performed. Other obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms may include:
- Continuous washing and cleaning in fear of germs
- Counting and checking repeatedly
- Ritualistic behavior to decrease anxiety
- Anxiety-related to symmetry and orderliness
- Irrational fear of intruders or any other unwarranted phobia
Relationships and Compulsive Obsessive Disorders
People with obsessive compulsive disorder may drive away relationships with their display of rigid and ritualistic behavior. The obsession with cleanliness and orderliness may be challenging to those living with the sufferer. As family relationships become strained, the person with obsessive compulsive disorder may experience increased anxiety, and symptoms may worsen. In addition, people with the disorder may become severely depressed.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Therapy
Most obsessive compulsive disorders are treated with antidepressants to decrease anxiety and stabilize the mood. At first, medications may be changed frequently to find the one that is the most effective for the individual. As depression is reduced, the affected person may find relief in their anxiety and a decrease in the intrusive thoughts and need for rituals. Psychotherapy is initiated to assist the patient in learning new thought patterns. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been used with some success to retrain thought processes and improve associated compulsive obsessive disorders.
Compulsive Obsessive Disorders
People who suffer from the disorder are encouraged to seek professional assistance in controlling the symptoms and gaining back their lives. Many studies have provided the mental health community with new insight into the disorder, and many have been successfully treated with obsessive-compulsive disorder therapy.