OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition where you experience recurring obsessions and compulsions.
Usually you will have recurring thoughts that lead to repetitive actions. For example, having recurring thoughts about germs and dirt can lead to the action of needing to wash your hands repeatedly. Imagine you’re fighting a dragon in skyrim way above your skill level and you lose, this would lead you to go back to your last save and repeat the fight.
DON’T WORRY! There are some powerful potions you can take to beat that dragon. Some treatments available include CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medicine. These can greatly reduce the symptoms of OCD.
WHAT ARE OBSESSIONS AND COMPULSIONS?
Obsessions are thoughts, images or urges that keep coming into your mind.
Some common obsessions include:
- Fears about contamination with dirt, germs, viruses (for example, HIV), etc.
- Worries about doors being unlocked, fires left on, causing harm to someone, etc.
- Intrusive thoughts or images of swearing, blasphemy, sex, someone harmed, etc.
- Fear of making a mistake or behaving badly.
- A need for exactness in how you order or arrange things.
- A need to collect things that others might throw away (hoarding).
Compulsions are thoughts or actions that you feel you need to repeat, usually in response to an obsession.
A compulsion is a way of trying to deal with the distress or anxiety caused by an obsession.
For example, if you have an obsession about doors being unlocked, you might repeatedly check if the door is locked in response to this obsession. Some more examples of compulsions include counting, cleaning, touching, arranging and organising – but there are many more.
HOW CAN OCD AFFECT YOU
OCD affects people in different ways and ranges in severity. Some may experience only some life disruption but others may feel extreme distress.
OCD can affect your work, relationships, social life and quality of life.
Some people may feel crazy because of the severity of the compulsions and will not tell the doctor because of this. However, you are not crazy or mad – it is not your fault and treatments often work!
WHO GETS OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER?
It’s estimated that between 1 to 3 in 100 adults have OCD. It usually first develops between the ages of 18 and 30. Up to 2 in 100 children are also thought to have OCD.
TREATMENTS FOR OCD
The usual treatments for OCD are:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – this can help change your thought processes and/or behaviours by creating strategies to overcome negative patterns.
- Medication, usually with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medicine – typically used to treat depression, SSRI medicines can also reduce the symptoms of OCD by altering chemicals like serotonin in the brain.
- A combination of CBT plus an SSRI antidepressant medicine.