Some Things You May Not Know About OCD
By Paul Rothbart
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) afflicts a fair number of people. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, approximately 3 million Americans have OCD. The symptoms are repeated thoughts or urges that cause anxiety. The individual develops compulsions, in the form of behaviors designed to relieve the anxiety and performs them ritualistically. These compulsions can have a detrimental effect on the life of the sufferer, negatively impacting work and interpersonal relationships. OCD is one of the most misunderstood disorders. Many people attach the OCD label to behavior that is not a symptom of the disorder. Here are some facts about OCD you may not be aware of.
There Are Different Types of OCD
OCD is subdivided into different types depending on the behavior exhibited. One of the most common is checking. This is where a person constantly checks on something, such as making sure the door is locked before leaving the house. Contamination is a fear of dirt and germs and is characterized by constant washing and cleaning. Some people suffer from symmetry and ordering in which they need to place things in a specific order or pattern to avoid feeling distressed. Hoarding is an especially damaging form of OCD in which the individual collects things and cannot get rid of them. Unchecked, this can lead to filling the home to the extent that it is no longer livable.
OCD Can Only Be Diagnosed By a Trained Professional
Many people throw around the term OCD, saying things like, "I've got a little OCD." The truth is that only a trained professional can diagnose this mental health condition. A professional will look for evidence of obsessions and compulsions and how they impact the individual's life. The International OCD Foundation states that the obsessions and compulsions of people with OCD occupy much of their time and interfere with the important activities of their lives. If you suspect that you may have OCD, see a trained mental health professional to get an accurate diagnosis.
OCD Is Treated With Therapy and Medication
There are two types of therapy used to treat OCD, cognitive behavior therapy, and exposure response prevention therapy. They can be used separately or in combination. There are also oral medications that can be used. Seventy percent of people who received treatment using one or more of these approaches experience relief of symptoms according to the International OCD Foundation.
OCD can be distressful and degrade quality of life. Fortunately, there is no need to suffer with it. See a mental health professional, get a diagnosis, and follow a treatment plan. A majority of sufferers who seek treatment will learn to manage their OCD.
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