Anxiety, fear of troubles, repeated washing of hands are just a few signs of a dangerous obsessive-compulsive disease. The fault line between normal and intrusive states can turn into a precipice if OCD is not diagnosed in time.
What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The desire to check something all the time, the feeling of anxiety, fear have a different degree of severity. It is possible to talk about the presence of a disorder if obsessions appear with a certain frequency, provoking the appearance of stereotypical acts called compulsions. What is OCD in psychiatry? Scientific definitions boil down to the interpretation that it is a neurosis, a syndrome of obsessive states caused by neurotic or mental disorders.
Opposition-causing disorder, which is characterized by fear, obsession, depressive mood, lasts a long period of time. This specificity of obsessive-compulsive malaise makes diagnosis difficult and simple at the same time, but a certain criterion is taken into account. According to the accepted classification according to Snezhnevsky, based on taking into account the features of the course, the disorder is characterized by:
- a single attack lasting from a week to several years;
- cases of relapse of a compulsive state, between which periods of complete recovery are recorded;
- continuous development with periodic intensification of symptoms.
Among obsessive thoughts encountered with compulsive malaise, alien to the true desires of the personality itself arise. Fear of committing something that a person is not able to accomplish due to character or education, for example, blaspheming during a religious service or a person thinks that he can harm his loved ones – these are signs of contrasting obsession. Fear of harm in obsessive-compulsive disorder leads to careful avoidance of the object that caused such thoughts.
At this stage, obsessive disorder may be characterized as the need to perform certain actions that bring relief. Often, meaningless and irrational compulsions (obsessive actions) take one form or another, and such a wide variation makes diagnosis difficult. The emergence of action is preceded by negative thoughts, impulsive actions.
Among the most common signs of obsessive-compulsive malaise are the following:
- frequent washing of hands, taking a shower, often using antibacterial agents – this causes a fear of pollution;
- behavior when fear of infection forces a person to avoid contact with door handles, toilets, sinks, money as potentially dangerous carriers of dirt;
- multiple (compulsive) testing of switches, sockets, door locks, when the disease of doubt crosses the line between thoughts and the need to act.
Fear, albeit unfounded, provokes the appearance of obsessive thoughts, actions that reach the point of absurdity. Anxiety in which obsessive-phobic disorder reaches such dimensions can be treated, and the four-step method of Jeffrey Schwartz or the study of a traumatic event, experience (aversive therapy) is considered rational therapy. Among phobias in obsessive-compulsive disorder, the most famous is claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces).
When negative thoughts or feelings arise, but the patient’s compulsive malaise is far from the diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder, you have to look for a way to neutralize the obsessive syndrome. The psyche forms some intrusive rituals, which are expressed by senseless actions or the need to perform repeated compulsive actions similar to superstition. A person himself can consider such rituals illogical, but anxiety disorder forces him to repeat all over again.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Symptoms
Obsessive thoughts or actions that are perceived as wrong or painful can harm physical health. Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder can be single, have an uneven degree of severity, but if you ignore the syndrome, the condition will worsen. Obsessive-compulsive neurosis can be accompanied by apathy, depression, so you need to know the signs by which it will be possible to diagnose OCD:
- the occurrence of an unreasonable fear of infection, fear of pollution or trouble;
- repeatedly repeating obsessive actions;
- compulsive acts (protective actions);
- excessive desire to observe order and symmetry, focusing on cleanliness, pedantry;
- “Stuck” in thoughts.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder in children
It is less common than in adults, and when diagnosed, compulsive disorder is more often detected in adolescents, and only a small percentage are children of 7 years of age. Belonging to the sex does not affect the appearance or development of the syndrome, while obsessive-compulsive disorder in children does not differ from the main manifestations of neurosis in adults. If parents manage to notice signs of OCD, then it is necessary to consult a psychotherapist to choose a treatment plan with the use of medicines and behavioral, group therapy.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Causes
A comprehensive study of the syndrome, many studies have failed to give a clear answer to the question about the nature of obsessive-compulsive disorders. Psychological factors (transferred stress, problems, fatigue) or physiological (chemical imbalance in nerve cells) can affect a person’s well-being.
If we dwell on the factors in more detail, then the causes of OCD look like this:
- stressful situation or traumatic event;
- autoimmune reaction (a consequence of streptococcal infection);
- genetics (Tourette’s syndrome);
- violation of brain biochemistry (decreased activity of glutamate, serotonin).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder – treatment
Almost complete recovery is not excluded, but long-term therapy will be required to get rid of obsessive-compulsive neurosis. How to treat OCD? The treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder is carried out in a complex with sequential or parallel use of techniques. Compulsive personality disorder in severe OCD requires medical treatment or biological therapy, and in mild cases, the following methods are used. It:
- Psychotherapy. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy helps to cope with some aspects of compulsive disorder: correction of stress behavior (exposure and warning method), training in relaxation techniques. Psycho-educational therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder should be aimed at deciphering actions, thoughts, identifying the reasons for which family therapy is sometimes prescribed.
- Lifestyle correction. Mandatory dietary review, especially if there is a compulsive eating disorder, getting rid of bad habits, social or professional adaptation.
- Physiotherapy at home. Hardening at any time of the year, bathing in sea water, warm baths with an average duration and subsequent wiping.