Everyone at one point in their lives has experienced preoccupation over a certain thought. It may be when you’re waiting for an important mail to arrive or you find yourself checking the door is locked before you sleep for the night. These thoughts are normal and usually, come and go.
In some cases, however, these circumstances have a heavier importance to individuals with an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. OCD is a chronic disorder in which a person suffers from repetitive thoughts and behaviours. Although they know that these thoughts are futile, they are not able to control them, thus, they find themselves repeating certain behaviours.
The Possible Cause of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Although studies have shown that obsessive-compulsive disorder comes from a neurobiological effect, there has been no conclusive evidence of the true cause of OCD. Some research studies have found that symptoms of OCD may stem from different parts of the brain having troubles in communicating with one another. Experts believe that different factors such as a person’s biology, environment, and genetics may trigger OCD.
OCD affects children and adults, although a significant number of them are diagnosed before they turn 20, and boys have a higher risk than girls. On the other hand, there have been cases of diagnosis among people over 35. There have been findings that show that a person has a higher risk of developing OCD if their parent or sibling also has OCD.
Obsessions and Compulsions
An example of an obsession for a lot of people with OCD is the fear of getting in contact with everyday objects like a door handle due to fear of getting sick. It can also be the constant fear of failing to switch off appliances before leaving the house. As a result of these incessant thoughts, they may start having compulsions like constantly washing their hands or using a hand sanitizer after touching something they believe is germ-infected, or they may start checking multiple times if the stove is turned off before finally leaving the house.
The Effects of Obsessive Compulsion
People with OCD may have obsessions, compulsions, or both. They tend to develop compulsions to ease the anxiety of their repetitive thoughts and can significantly put a strain in their overall health and welfare. They may waste a better part of the day to ease their psychological distress, which affects their daily lives. It could also put a strain on their relationships with people.
As mentioned, although they know these thoughts can be excessive, people with OCD cannot stop themselves from doing their compulsions that they end up hurting themselves in the process. For example, they could injure themselves from washing their hands, showering, or brushing their teeth too much.
Some compulsions are fairly harmless such as arranging items in a precise order, travelling only on specific routes, or wearing only certain colours in fear of something bad is going to happen if they don’t. They can also develop tics such as counting to certain numbers, blinking, or shrugging their shoulders.
How to Ease Obsession
People shouldn’t wait until they cannot function in their daily lives before they start seeking professional help from a mental health provider or anxiety treatment service. OCD is usually treated with therapy, medicine, or both. Although some patients can still experience symptoms even after therapy and medication, they reach a point where their compulsions become manageable and not take over their lives.
One way to reduce the symptoms of OCD is recognizing the triggers of their behaviours and avoiding them. Individuals can start to recognize their triggers during psychotherapy. Moreover, experts strongly suggest that people with OCD talk with their doctors and discuss the benefits and risk of taking certain medications, do not stop taking it without telling their doctors first, and that they should report any concerns of possible side effects to their doctors right away.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can affect anyone, although risk factors are higher for certain individuals. Obsessive compulsion can range from only wearing yellow clothing to having to spend hours a day cleaning the house to make sure it’s spotless. When subjected to these incessant thoughts, people become psychologically distressed and can affect their overall health and lifestyle. Before the symptoms evolve to something unmanageable, people OCD must seek professional help.