Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
What Is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder that affects 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children in America. The WHO (World Health Organisation) lists it as one of the top twenty causes of illness-related disability in people aged 15 to 44 worldwide. OCD is a particularly difficult illness to deal with because it’s an ‘invisible’ disease that severely affects your life without necessarily showing any obvious signs to people who don’t know you well.
Signs of OCD
OCD, simply put, is about an obsessive thought or compulsion that unwanted. It can cause a strain on your life and take up hours of your time. One of the more stereotypical examples of OCD is a person who is obsessed with cleanliness and spends hours cleaning or washing their hands to make sure they aren’t contaminated by germs. Just like the main character in Monk or Dr. Kevin Casey in Scrubs. This isn’t the only way OCD can manifest – nor can a source always be found.
Most people have some level of “obsession”. How often do you check, double-check and triple-check that you have your keys or you locked your door? That would be a minor, rational obsession; you worry because of the news, or you or someone you’ve known has been locked out of their own home because of their carelessness.
Now increase it many times, adding in patterns and rituals that cause anxiety until they are done and released. Now, you don’t just check you have your keys every time you leave a new place, you check them every five minutes even if they’ve been on the table in front of you for hours. You panic if you can’t touch your keys the instant you need to know they’re safe. Every time you leave your home you have to go back ten times to make sure your door is locked, and still obsess about it at work or college. You might even phone a friend, family member or neighbor to have them check the lock for you, just in case.
Since it is a neuro-biological disease with many different causes, which can sometimes even be caused by traumatic brain injuries, there is no lab test for OCD. Instead, there are diagnostic interviews and assessments like the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) that evaluate you as an individual, giving you a ‘scale’ of severity of your illness.
If you are concerned that you have OCD, then your first step should be to see a mental health professional. If you are diagnosed with OCD, then treatment options are available.
Medication is an option, but one of the most common forms of treatment is CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy). CBT is a form of talk therapy with a limited number of sessions in which you work with a therapist to see if you can find alternative rituals to help you with your anxieties and fears.
There might be a chance that you have other illnesses alongside your OCD such as GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), social anxiety or depression. These illnesses are usually co-morbid meaning if you have one the chances of having a similar illness increases. Working with a therapist can help you address the root of your OCD and give you the means to modify your rituals or reduce them drastically. If medication is needed, your therapist will be able to help you get what you need.
At Broadway Medical Center, we specialize in OCD and compulsive-related disorders and work with you to find an effective treatment plan that is tailored to you.
- “Facts about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” BeyondOCD.org http://beyondocd.org/ocd-facts. Accessed 19 Apr 2019
- “OCD” UpToDate https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=2684084 Accessed 21 Apr 2019
- “Cognitive Behavior Therapy”, Mayoclinic.org https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cognitive-behavioral-therapy… Accessed 19 Apr 2019