OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive DisorderObsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a term that can refer to a number of unusual thoughts, activities and behaviors. OCD is often found in conjunction with anxiety or panic attacks. People who are diagnosed with OCD experience obsessive negative or worrisome thoughts and compulsions which cannot be controlled. The person knows these compulsions and ideas are not normal or logical, but still symptoms persist. OCD does not disappear without treatment. It is not possible to achieve a normal existence without treatment as the illness can be quite destructive and intense.

There are many possible causes for OCD, and over 2 million U.S. citizens are diagnosed with this mental health disorder every year. Research indicates that biological factors are only one reason for OCD, while social and environment factors are also factors that influence the onset and advancement of this mental illness. The quantity of a naturally occuring chemical in the human brain called Serotonin plays a role as well, because individuals with OCD have been found to possess lower levels of the chemical. If this sounds like a disorder that you or someone you love potentially has, medications and treatments can offer relief in many cases.

Some factors that increase the risk of developing OCD include pregnancy, another member of the family with this particular illness, or even a high stress lifestyle. Drug abuse can also greatly increase the potential risks, however, many who have OCD try alcohol or drugs to prevent the compulsions and obsessive ideas. This often creates a dilemma for medical professionals, making a precise diagnosis difficult to achieve. This leads to the symptoms of OCD worsening, and making treatment much more difficult. This will cause a dependancy to occur and a dual diagnosis is created.

Once the OCD is treated effectively and the drug abuse is stopped an ordinary existence can be achieved. Without substance abuse and mental health treatment, it is usually not possible to defeat this dual diagnosis. The proper therapy for any dual diagnosis of OCD and addiction calls for a dual modality program. If only one or the other is addressed, the result is going to be failure, since the OCD will return due to substance abuse, or vis versa.

OCD has signs and symptoms that include:

  • List making, repetitive counting, obsessively repeating specific activities daily
  • Obsessive sexual ideas, such as child pornography or bestiality
  • Hoarding
  • Anxiety over disease or sickness
  • Theft
  • Fears of harming yourself or another person
  • Exaggerated concern over bacteria or uncleanliness
  • Skewed body image
  • Requiring things to be in particular places
  • Ritual actions like cleaning, washing hands or excessive showering
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