OCD or Obsessive-compulsive disorder refers to a mental illness characterized by repeated unnecessary actions or compulsive sensations. These are compulsive habits of a person that are out of their control.
Medical practitioners classify actions as compulsive or obsessive when they interfere with a person’s regular activities. While some people can have obsessive tendencies, some have compulsive tendencies, and some experience a combination of the two.
OCD is a medical condition that varies in intensity and complexity. Therefore diagnosis and OCD treatment differ with each person.
Causes of OCD
OCD can be both behavioral and mental. People indulge in obsessive habits or patterns to deal with anxiety or soothe fears. When a person realizes that a particular action provides comfort, they may develop it into a ritual.
These habits may further develop into obsessive habits. Similarly, a person with OCD feels that a particular action would prevent a bad thing from happening. These thoughts could be logical or irrational.
Such actions as compulsively checking the door’s lock multiple times take root in anxiety. But some people have fears that can be irrational.
For example, a person with OCD may believe that something might happen to them if they do not tap their phone three times before unlocking it. Many theories indicate that OCD is genetic but could also be a product of chemical abnormalities in the brain.
The most common type of OCD
One of the most common types of OCD reported is organization OCD. It is also known as orderliness OCD. A person with OCD may experience strong impulses to keep their surroundings organized and neat at all times.
While sometimes it is mistaken for a preference to maintain cleanliness by others around the person, it can become a problem when the impulse becomes uncontrollable.
People with this type of OCD may put aside their work or regular activities to organize their surroundings. Apart from their surroundings, they may also fixate on specific items such as their workspace, living room, closet, glass cabinets, or bathroom cabinets.
They will need the object of their fixation to be in a certain way, with things placed in a specific order. This obsessive mania can be tremendously tiring and can affect a person’s physical and mental health to a great extent.
People have reported significant changes in sleeping, eating, and working patterns after the onset of OCD.
Treating organization OCD
In general, various tools help in treating OCD. One of the most successful methods of them is cognitive behavior therapy.
Since anxiety and deep-rooted fears trigger OCD, cognitive behavior therapy focuses on unlearning existing thinking patterns that may add to one’s anxieties. Additionally, it also reinforces a new and positive thinking pattern.
The therapist exposes the patient to mildly triggering situations and teaches them to handle their compulsions. As the exposure happens over a certain period, the patient becomes habituated to the feeling, and their anxiety decreases gradually.
In severe cases of OCD where a person has little to no control over their impulses, OCD treatment involves hospitalization and rehabilitation. Rehabilitation refers to the process that enables a patient with mental illness to recover in a streamlined manner.
It usually engages the person in a structured therapeutic environment that would relax them. Evaluating the mental condition of the person, the medical professional prescribes medication.
Apart from that, the patient also attends regular therapy sessions. Once they are in a stable state and are free to return home, they are encouraged to involve themselves in support groups for OCD.
Considering that anxiety plays a vital role in OCD, health professionals concentrate on making their patients deal with them. Breathing techniques and rationalizing monologues are methods that they adopt to calm down anxieties.
Mindfulness, breathing techniques, and meditation are great calming methods that people with OCD follow. While dealing with depression caused by OCD, antidepressants help in increasing serotonin levels and decrease the symptoms.
Professionals advise people with OCD to follow a schedule that gives conscious attention to their OCD. For example, setting aside a specific time to worry about the habit or indulge in it could reduce the urge.
Despite its recognition as a legitimate medical condition by the medical society, OCD continues to occupy only a trivial space in public health forums. People often brush it off as a negligible inconvenience or as an attention-seeking gimmick, when in reality, it is a worrying mental illness.
The number of children and young adults affected by OCD is rising. But due to several factors, many continue to suffer in private. These factors could include lack of access to resources, societal taboo, peer ridicule, or even gaslighting by family and close people.
Public health arenas must shed a positive light on OCD. It will reverse the social taboo that has formed around mental illness.