Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

If your daily life is hindered as a result of your obsessions and compulsions, you may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (abbreviated as OCD). A person with OCD experiences frequent upsetting thoughts (aka obsessions) that they try to combat and control by performing ritualistic behaviors (aka compulsions). It is important to note that healthy people who do not have OCD can also have rituals, but the difference in people with OCD is that their rituals cause them great distress and interrupt their daily life. Examples of common rituals that people with OCD perform include excessive hand washing, locking and unlocking their locks multiple times before leaving, skin picking, pulling out hair (trichotillomania) and combing their hair compulsively; as you can see, these compulsions can clearly hinder one’s daily life. These rituals, which are repetitive and uncontrollable, are carried out in order to get brief relief from the anxiety one’s compulsions can cause.

Although these repetitive behaviors occur as a result of one’s obsessions, scientists are not certain what the exact causes of OCD are. However, they do hypothesize that genetics do play a major role in the development of this disorder and possibly environmental stressors as well. OCD typically develops in the childhood/teenage years, as most people who have it are diagnosed by the age of 19. And although OCD tends to be a lifelong disorder if left untreated, the exact course varies. Most people do control it with the proper treatment. Since it is co-morbid with other disorders such as eating disorders, anxiety disorders or depression, one can also find great relief by getting the co-occurring disorder treated as well. As far as treatments for OCD go, similar to the treatments available and recommended for many other disorders, medications and the use of psychotherapy work best. If you suspect you or someone you know has OCD, it is urgent that you contact a mental health specialist to first determine whether or not you or your loved one has it, and second to find the best treatment option available.

If you believe that you are a loved one has or may have OCD, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

Sources: nimh.nih.gov

By: Shivani J. Patel

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