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What is OCD?
by Casey. February 17th 2009, 02:39 AM

What is OCD?
Written by: Casey

You pick up your keys and set them back down. You do it again and again, until it feels right. Then you place the keys in your pocket and take them out. You keep doing it, counting silently, breathing deeply. Thirty minutes later you finally make in out the door. These little 'quirks' rule your life. You plan your day around them. People around you throw out a term repetitively: OCD. But what does that mean? What is OCD? What can you do about it ?

What is OCD?

OCD is an Anxiety Disorder. OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is also an uncontrollable repetitive thought or action. It is something that you feel compelled to complete, or else you may begin to panic. Everyone has little quirks, but sometimes those quirks get to the point where they control your life, causing you to panic if you don't act them out. You can't function normally anymore, your life is interrupted by these pesky little quirks. That, in a nutshell, is OCD.

If you have OCD, you could have obsessions, compulsions, or both.

Obsessions: Obsessions are thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again and feel out of your control. You do not want to have these ideas. You may find them disturbing and intrusive, and recognize that they don't make sense. Those with OCD might worry excessively about dirt and germs and become obsessed with the idea that they are contaminated or are contaminating others. They may have obsessive fears of having inadvertently harmed someone else even though they usually know this is not realistic. Obsessions are accompanied by uncomfortable feelings, such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a sensation that things have to be done in a way that is "just so".

Compulsions: People with OCD try to make their obsessions go away by performing compulsions. Compulsions are acts the person performs over and over again, often according to certain "rules"." People with an obsession about contamination may wash constantly to the point that their hands become raw and inflamed. You may repeatedly check that you have turned off the stove or iron because of an obsessive fear of burning the house down. You may have to count certain objects over and over because of an obsession about losing them. Unlike compulsive drinking or gambling, OCD compulsions do not give the same pleasure. Rather, the rituals are performed to obtain relief from the discomfort caused by the obsessions.

OCD symptoms cause distress, take up time (sometimes more than an hour a day), or significantly interfere with the person's work, social life, or relationships. Most individuals with OCD recognize that their obsessions are coming from their own minds and are not just excessive worries about real problems. They realize that the compulsions they perform are excessive or unreasonable. When someone with OCD does not recognize that their beliefs and actions are unreasonable, this is called OCD with poor insight. OCD symptoms tend to wax and wane over time. Some may be little more than background noise; others may produce extremely severe distress.

What causes OCD?

There are many beliefs as to what might cause OCD. Most people with OCD have someone in their family who has OCD or another Anxiety Disorder, so OCD is considered, in part, genetic.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may also be caused by levels of serotonin in the brain. When the serotonin is blocked, the brain reacts thinking that it is in danger. Instead of the brain getting rid of the unwanted thoughts, the brain dwells on them. Thus, the person develops unrealistic fears and doubts.

How can OCD be treated?

There are two main treatments for OCD - behavioral therapy and medication.

Behavioral therapy is when you are taught to do or not do a behavior. Behavioral therapy with OCD might be facing the obsession. An example might be touching an object that has touched another object but not being allowed to wash your hands. Behavioral therapy is considered the most effective because it teaches you how to deal with and conquer the present anxiety.

The second treatment is medication, which might be an anti-depressant or serotonin supplement. Medication is effective, but not as effective as behavioral therapy, as medication only helps you manage the anxiety, not overcome it. Behavioral therapy helps you to conquer the thoughts, actions, and anxiety caused by OCD.


Last edited by TeenHelp; April 5th 2015 at 03:45 PM.
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