Among American adults, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) affects approximately 2.2 million lives according to the National Institute of Mental Health The major symptoms of OCD include the development of cognitive obsessions and behavioral compulsions. Obsessions are defined as repetitive and persistent thoughts, images or urges. These thoughts can include feelings of contamination, violent machinations or horrific visuals. Compulsions are ritual behaviors that are usually in response to the person’s particular obsessions. The individual feels driven to perform these repetitive routines, such as counting or cleaning oneself. If these rituals are not rigidly followed, a wide range of responses may occur, from anxiety or panic to even disgust.
Meeting the official criteria for obsessive compulsive disorder depends on the level of distress. Clinicians and other mental health professionals need to examine and interview their clients thoroughly to ensure that the assessment can accurately determine if one has OCD. In terms of duration, it is significant if the symptoms last longer than one hour per day. Some personality types may cause short bouts of fixation and repetition, but a serious condition noticeably impacts one’s daily life. In addition, the severity of each episode varies greatly from one case to the other. While some may get by with sudden rushes of preoccupation, others may spend the entire day trying to move on from activity to activity.
Another critical feature of OCD is the incidence of illogical beliefs. The dysfunctional processes that develop during the disorder, such as a heightened sense of responsibility and possible threats, typically hinder the control of thoughts. A person may have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, as he or she cannot control unknown events. The individual will stress over the anticipation of something terrible that may or may not occur. However, these tendencies work against the natural unpredictability of life and just “going with the flow”, which can commonly result in intense frustration and anxiety.
People with OCD also vary in the degree of insight they have about the validity of their own beliefs. These degrees differ in severity, from having a fair awareness of their delusion to being completely oblivious to it. Difficulty recognizing his or her actual circumstances is associated with a more difficult course of treatment. This is because effective treatment cannot begin if a person is not convinced that a problem exists in the first place.
The underlying systems of the mind and body have a high rate of overlap with each other. For instance, up to 30 percent of individuals with OCD also have a chronic tic disorder. For the most part, the coexistence of these two conditions begins in childhood. The comparison between those with and those without a history of tic disorder demonstrate some major differences in how beneficial treatment is. Multiple mental disorders complicate the person’s overall level of dysfunction, as one side of the problem may gain strength when only the other condition is treated. By utilizing a process known as dual diagnosis, clients will be carefully screened for any hidden issues. To avoid relapse and other setbacks, an expert health care staff will confront the symptoms from all sorts of angles at the same time.
In addition to handling multiple disorders, those afflicted by OCD must also undergo multiple forms of treatment, including therapy and medication. Exposure-based psychotherapy has shown to systematically reduce the obsessions and compulsions in response to different situations, while research on the potential of other alternatives continue to amass. In terms of medicines, anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications are most commonly prescribed to reduce the symptoms. While each camp has shown substantial efficacy in the recovery process, using both therapeutic and pharmaceutical options together is the most successful solution.
Sovereign Mental Health is an organization that upholds a high standard of care when it comes to treating the various hardships of serious disorders, such as symptoms associated with OCD. An inability to maintain the normalcy of one’s thinking patterns can severely affect an individual’s quality of life. A comprehensive and holistic combination of methods is employed by licensed staff to address the specific needs of each case. Regardless of the scope and severity, the restricting chains of OCD are broken one by one until a person learns to manage his or her tendencies.
If you or a loved one experiences any indicators of an obsessive compulsive disorder, contact our 24/7 helpline for instant support by live chatting or submitting a form via email. You can also call us at (866) 954-0529.