Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a term that can cover a wide range and variety of unusual thought processes, activities, and behaviors. Obsessive compulsive disorder, also commonly called OCD, is included in the anxiety disorder category. Individuals who have OCD experience obsessive negative or worrisome thoughts, and compulsions which can not be resisted. The individual understands that these compulsions and thoughts are not normal or logical, but obsessive compulsive disorder will not go away without treatment. It is not possible to have a normal life for someone with untreated OCD, because the illness can be very destructive and time consuming.
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There are many possible causes for obsessive compulsive disorder, and over two million people in America live with this mental health disorder each year. A number of scientists point to biological factors as a possible cause of obsessive compulsive disorder, while social and environmental factors are also possible factors that influence the onset and progression of this mental illness. The levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin plays a role as well, because those with obsessive compulsive disorder are often found to have low levels of this chemical present. If this is the case then medications to correct this imbalance may offer relief in a number of cases.
Some factors that indicate a higher risk for developing OCD include pregnancy, a close family member with this illness, and even a high stress lifestyle. Substance abuse can also increase the risks, but many people who have obsessive compulsive disorder try drugs or alcohol to stop the compulsions and obsessive thoughts. This can be a catch 22, making an accurate diagnosis hard to reach, causing the symptoms to worsen, and making treatment much more difficult. This causes an addiction to develop, and then there are two conditions that require professional treatment instead of just one. This is called a dual diagnosis.
When the obsessive compulsive disorder is treated effectively and the substance abuse is stopped a normal life is possible. Without significant substance abuse and mental health treatment both a normal life is not usually possible. The treatment for a dual diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder and addiction means that a dual modality program is needed. If only one of the conditions is treated the end result will be failure, because the obsessive compulsive disorder will come back due to drug or alcohol abuse or the substance abuse will be started again to control the symptoms of the disorder.
Obsessive compulsive disorder can include many symptoms, some of which are:
- Fear of hurting yourself or someone else
- An exaggerated concern over germs or dirt
- Fear of disease or sickness
- A distorted body image
- Needing everything to be perfectly in the right place
- Obsessive thoughts about sexual perversions, such as child pornography or bestiality
- Ritual behaviors such as cleaning, washing your hands, showering numerous times each day
- Making lists, repetitive counting, repeating specific activities over and over again each day