Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Tale Beyond Intrusive Thoughts
Introduction: What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which a person experiences repeated thoughts or sensations (obsessions) and the urge to do something repeatedly (compulsions). With a lifetime prevalence in population surveys of 1.6%, OCD is the fourth most prevalent mental disorder after depression, alcohol/substance abuse, and social phobia. OCD severity varies significantly from person to person. Learn more about OCD Clinical Trials that focus on finding potential treatment options for OCD that might help people overcome their obsessions and compulsions.
This blog focuses on the symptoms of OCD and its impact on relationships and other prominent changes in one’s personality.
The Culprit in Causing OCD Tendencies
The environment, genetics, and anomalies of the brain are regarded to be contributing factors. It frequently begins in adolescence or early adulthood. However, it can also begin in infancy. Both men and women are impacted by OCD. It appears to be a family trait.
The Devastating Impact of OCD Tendencies on One’s Life
In today’s era, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is considered a positive trait. People often misunderstand this term. As a result, people who actually suffer from OCD are not given the attention and care they need. OCD changes the life of a person completely.
Some people may struggle to leave the house or carry out daily activities because they spend a large portion of their days fulfilling numerous compulsions. Others can appear to be handling daily life but experiencing a great deal of distress due to obsessive thinking.
Some OCD sufferers may carry out their rituals and compulsions covertly or come up with justifications to avoid social interaction to fulfill their compulsions.
OCD severity varies significantly from person to person. Some people might be able to keep their OCD a secret from their own families. The condition may, however, have a significant detrimental effect on interpersonal interactions, resulting in frequent family and marital strife or unhappiness, separation, or divorce. Additionally, it obstructs leisure time and a person’s capacity to learn or work, resulting in decreased professional and educational achievement as well as raising the odds of unemployment.
Families may find it particularly challenging when an OCD sufferer has a limited understanding of the condition. In these situations, the person may have a hard time realizing that their worries are excessive, that they could have OCD, or even that they could need some treatment.
How Is OCD Linked to Pre-Natal and Post-Natal Period?
OCD and pregnancy are not favored subjects in the research community. There is little to no research on pregnancy and its link with OCD. However, evidence suggests that some women develop OCD for the first time during or after pregnancy. While other studies imply that these women already have OCD tendencies that just worsen during the pregnancy period.
Pregnancy and the early years of parenthood are times when mothers are naturally concerned about the safety of their developing babies and feel especially responsible for them, which possibly explains why OCD is more common during these times. Women may become extremely worried about safeguarding their unborn child and how their behaviors may affect their baby. Besides, it is a time of increased stress, significant physical change, and role transition, all of which can make women more susceptible to problems later on.
OCD tendencies during this time are mostly fixated on worries and fears of hurting the baby. In response, their compulsive acts would be to avoid any such trigger. For example, during pregnancy, a lot of women avoid certain food items because they could potentially harm the baby. Mothers or mothers-to-be who have OCD will go to any extent just to be safe or at least feel that they have done everything they could in their capacity to not harm the baby. They may pay extra attention to cleaning and washing everything around them to protect themselves and their child.
After birth, the compulsions and obsessions may revolve around protecting the baby from illnesses that may be harmful to their health. All of these thoughts and emotions deprive a mother of enjoying her time with the baby and it also has a negative impact on their bonding with the child.
Social and Economic Consequences of OCD
OCD is an extremely debilitating condition that WHO has ranked in the top ten disabling conditions that impact the quality of life and economic conditions.
With conditions that impair mental health, people often find it hard to manage their finances. It is also critical to notice that the treatment of OCD is an added financial burden.
Strategies To Cope With OCD Tendencies
Your life might become completely consumed by obsessions and compulsions, leaving you feeling vulnerable. You can, however, try a few things to assist control your OCD and enhance your wellbeing.
- Focus on your diet by making healthy food choices,
- Understand that it is not your fault,
- Minimize stress,
- Learn to love and parent yourself,
- Practice self-control, and
- Stop relying on others for reassurance.
Treatment Options for OCD
Selected Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), psychotherapy like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or a combination of the two are typically used to treat OCD. Some OCD sufferers feel that CBT is beneficial because it teaches them how to think differently about their obsessions and compulsions, assisting them in overcoming these undesirable thoughts and actions.
In therapy, your concerns and obsessive ideas will be supported without being put to rest by compulsive acts. Working with your therapist to scrutinize and compartmentalize your issues, such as your ideas, bodily sensations, and behaviors. Before moving on to more difficult concepts, you start with the scenarios that make you feel the least anxious. Many people find that if they confront their obsessions, their anxiety eventually reduces or vanishes, even though treatment might be difficult and frightening.
You may require medication if psychological treatment is ineffective at treating your OCD tendencies or if it is quite severe. The most often prescribed class of antidepressants is Selected Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). An SSRI can aid in easing OCD symptoms by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. An SSRI may need to be taken for 12 weeks before you start to feel any of its effects.
Most people need to be treated for at least a year. If you experience few or no troublesome symptoms after this, you might be able to discontinue taking an SSRI, even though some people need to take them for years.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) does not have a known cure, but you can manage your symptoms, and reduce or even eliminate their impact on your everyday life with the help of professional care and multiple other coping methods.
You can greatly improve your quality of life and reduce stress by finding a therapist who has experience with OCD. It’s oftentimes feasible to learn new strategies for coping with your OCD symptoms and difficult thought patterns with the assistance of an expert.
In addition to treatment and medication, you can help yourself and others with this complex illness by participating in paid OCD clinical trials near you in Chicago and Michigan.