Obsessive-compulsive disorder is also known as OCD. It is a mental illness that causes people to have obsessive thoughts, which leads them to engage in compulsive behavior. Obsessions are known as unpleasant and unwanted images, thoughts or urges, which repeatedly enters the mind of a sufferer. This causes a great deal of anxiety. It is a very frightening and unpleasant feeling. The compulsion element is when mental acts or behaviors have to be repeated again and again, so that the obsession does not come true.
Symptoms of OCD
OCD can present itself in a mild to severe matters. This means that some people only engage in their obsessive-compulsive behavior for an hour or so a day, whereas others spend all day on it. The condition is unique with each individual, as the obsession can be different for each individual as well. However, we do know that there are four steps in the pattern leading from thought to behavior. These are:
- Obsession – an overwhelming concern or fear enters the mind, such as that the home will get burgled.
- Anxiety – the obsessions renders the patient distressed and anxious.
- Compulsion – a pattern of behavior is put in place so that the anxiety is reduced, such as checking at least three times that the door is locked.
- Temporary relief – the anxiety is reduced for a short period of time, but the obsession will return, starting the pattern over again.
Causes of OCD
There are a number of factors believed to lead to the development of OCD. It is believed that the condition is hereditary and that the genes that work on developing the brain play a large part in the condition. A number of studies have shown that there are abnormalities in the brains of those with OCD, including increased activity and blood flow to areas of the brain that deal with emotions and how these are responded to. Furthermore, there is also often a serotonin imbalance in the brains of people with OCD. This is a neurotransmitter that allows the brain to convey information between cells.
When to Seek Help
At Creative Care, we often see people come to us for help who feel they have no other option left to them. Many of those who have the condition are ashamed and will do all they can to hide their condition from others, which means that they have suffered for a very long time before they actually got help. We are trying as much as possible to make it clear that OCD is a condition that you should not be embarrassed about, just as you wouldn’t be embarrassed about having asthma.
Our intake counselors will determine whether you have Obsessive-compulsive disorder and devise a treatment plan for you. Usually, this will include some behavior therapy and possibly medication. Antidepressants are known to be highly effective in the treatment of OCD, as is cognitive behavior therapy.
Unfortunately, many people with OCD also develop depression, which is understandable. However, if left untreated, depression can have deadly consequences, particularly because the chances of self-harm (for instance in the form of drugs) and suicide are greatly increased. At Creative Care, we specialize in people who have a dual diagnosis, which means they have one or more mental health conditions, as well as a substance abuse problem. Hence, if this is the case with you, you know you will be able to receive the best possible care.
The outlook for people with this disorder is positive, but only if you seek treatment. Without it, the condition is likely to remain with you for the rest of your life. Please contact Creative Care today in order to get started on your road to recovery.