All you need to know about OCD

What is OCD

It is a neurobiological disorder caused by the deficiency of a neuro-chemical in the brain called serotonin, which triggers obsessions that are characterised by repetitive thoughts which are intrusive in nature. OCD traps a person in a vicious cycle of obsessions, and this leads to anxiety, fear, tension or irritation. Engaging in compulsive behaviour allows the person to lower that anxiety temporarily, but a fresh obsession is triggered soon enough.

Treating OCD

Depending on the severity of the case, the doctor treats the patient through medication or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). In some cases, due to their severity, doctors use medicines and CBT to treat the patient. The treatment is often for 16 to 20 sessions, with one session lasting 60 minutes. Early identification and motivation towards treatment is the key to recovery.

So when do you have to seek treatment? When the obsessive behaviour is time-consuming, causing substantial distress and severely affecting work, family and social life, it is time.

Most get the condition before the age of 25

A whopping 65 per cent of people who develop OCD do so before the age of 25. For less than 15 per cent, it happens after 35. OCD is equally prevalent among male and female adults, but when it comes to adolescents the condition is more common among boys, Nimhans studies show.


* Contamination obsession

A person suffering from this condition has a fear of contamination by dust, dirt and even body fluids. He avoids touching objects, relies excessively on hand sanitizers, and is constantly washing his hands with soap and water. In extreme cases, he may spend hours in the bathroom

* Aggressive obsession

In this condition, the patient is convinced that a close family member or a friend will come to harm. He becomes consumed with checking up on them. In one case, a son would call up his mother 30 times a day just to make sure she is safe.

*Pathological doubts

It’s typified by constant doubts and worries. For instance, the patient may always be checking to ensure that the doors are locked, or that the geyser is switched off. Repeated counting of cash and other items in large numbers is also a trait. The actions cause distress and often extend to a condition termed ‘proxy compulsion’, where the person forces a family member check on the door locks, thus resulting in tension and quarrels.

* Hoarding obsession

When an object, possibly old and unusable, is dear to the patient, he will not discard it at any cost. An attempt by someone else to dispose of the item can cause angry behaviour in the person. There are even cases where people are compelled to save a room full of items and ‘protect’ them from others.

* Sexual obsession

Images of known persons constantly cross the mind of the person, and he often imagines physical intimacy with the individual(s). The patient rarely acts on the thought but constantly asks forgiveness in his mind for thinking so. The situation leads to severe discomfort, especially when encountering the person at a family gathering or workplace.

* Symmetry obsession

The person seeks extreme perfection at home or workplace and gets angry beyond reason when someone disrupts the order and misplaces or takes away a particular item, be it a book, cup, pen or paper clip.

* Religious obsession

It arises when a person carries out severe mental rituals, mainly prayer and obsession, towards god and religious practices.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 4:34:58 PM |

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