doubts, superstitious beliefs all are common in everyday
life. However, when they become so excessive such as hours
of hand washing or make no sense at all such as driving
around and around the block to check that an accident didn't
occur then a diagnosis of OCD is made. In OCD, it is as
though the brain gets stuck on a particular thought or urge
and just can't let go. People with OCD often say the symptoms
feel like a case of mental hiccups that won't go away. OCD
is a medical brain disorder that causes problems in information
processing. It is not your fault or the result of a "weak"
or unstable personality.
are the symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessions are thoughts, images, or impulses that occur
over and over again and feel out of your control. The person
does not want to have these ideas, finds them disturbing
and intrusive, and usually recognises that they don't really
make sense. People with OCD may worry excessively about
dirt and germs and be obsessed with the idea that they are
contaminated or may contaminate others. Or they may have
obsessive fears of having inadvertently harmed someone else
(perhaps while pulling the car out of the driveway), 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."
People with OCD typically 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. A person may repeatedly check
that she has turned off the stove or iron because of an
obsessive fear of burning the house down. She 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 person pleasure. Rather,
the rituals are performed to obtain relief from the discomfort
caused by the obsessions.
Other features of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
*OCD symptoms cause distress, take up a lot of time (more
than an hour a day), or significantly interfere with the
person's work, social life, or relationships.
*Most individuals with OCD recognize at some point that
their obsessions are coming from within their own minds
and are not just excessive worries about real problems,
and that the compulsions they perform are excessive or unreasonable.
When someone with OCD does not recognise that their beliefs
and actions are unreasonable, this is called OCD with poor
*OCD symptoms tend to wax and wane over time. Some may be
little more than background noise; others may produce extremely
does Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder begin?
OCD can start at any time from preschool age to adulthood
(usually by age 40).
third to one half of adults with OCD report that it started
during childhood. Unfortunately, OCD often goes unrecognised.
diagnosis and proper treatment, including finding the right
medications, can help people avoid the suffering associated
with OCD and lessen the risk of developing other problems,
such as depression or marital and work problems.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Inherited?
No specific genes for OCD have yet been identified, but
research suggests that genes do play a role in the development
of the disorder in some cases. Childhood-onset OCD tends
to run in families (sometimes in association with tic disorders).
When a parent has OCD, there is a slightly increased risk
that a child will develop OCD, although the risk is still
low. When OCD runs in families, it is the general nature
of OCD that seems to be inherited, not specific symptoms.
causes Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
There is no single, proven cause of OCD. Research suggests
that OCD involves problems in communication between the
front part of the brain (the orbital cortex) and deeper
structures (the basal ganglia).
brain structures use the chemical messenger serotonin. It
is believed that insufficient levels of serotonin are prominently
involved in OCD. Drugs that increase the brain concentration
of serotonin often help improve OCD symptoms.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004