Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a relatively common anxiety disorder and one that can have a very debilitating impact. People with OCD experience reoccurring, intrusive thoughts that lead to behaviors that they feel compelled to repeat, usually in a ritualistic manner. OCD can interfere with all aspects of a person’s life. Fortunately, OCD treatment can help patients with an OCD diagnosis manage symptoms. And, live out lives of better wellbeing.
Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can include an irrational fear of germs. Also, aggressive thoughts toward self or others and an unyielding desire to have things symmetrical or in perfect order. Other symptoms can be excessive cleaning or hand washing, repeatedly checking on things (such as to see if a door is locked), compulsive counting, and a preoccupation with losing or discarding objects with little or no value. Some people with OCD also have a motor tic (such as eye blinking or shoulder shrugging), or a vocal tic (such as throat clearing or sniffing.)
For people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the purpose of their complicated rituals is to ward off unwelcome and persistent thoughts and feelings. Additionally, to escape or reduce anxiety. People with OCD don’t get pleasure from their rituals or behaviors. But, they may feel temporary relief from the anxiety caused by their recurring thoughts.
What exactly causes OCD? Essentially, it’s believed that OCD is the result of miscommunication between different parts of the brain. This results in imbalance brain chemicals that can lead to a number of symptoms that OCD patients experience. But, what causes this to happen? Some believed causes of the development of OCD include:
Genetics: Family history can play a part in the cause behind OCD. So, if you have an immediate family member who has been diagnosed with OCD, the chances of a similar diagnosis for yourself increases. However, it is possible for a person to develop OCD who has no family history of OCD. So, while genetics do play a part in OCD’s development, this may not be the case in every individual situation.
Trauma: Some individuals who have OCD have experienced trauma in their lifetimes. While trauma can lead to a number of debilitating symptoms, it can also lead to changes in brain structure. Furthermore, the development of OCD as the result of these changes in brain chemistry and function.
Stress: In some cases, it is found that stress is a leading factor in the cause of OCD to develop. While stress may not be the individual factor of the cause of this condition, stress plays a big role in the lives of these individuals. And, those who have OCD often display emotions as a result of stress. Plus, may exhibit more OCD behaviors when experiencing heightened stress levels.
Childhood Illness: Some childhood illnesses, pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS) are known for the childhood development of OCD. Essentially, these conditions can affect the functionality and communication of the brain. Thus, resulting in OCD symptoms, whether during childhood or in the future.
There are a number of treatments people can utilize in attempts to manage symptoms of OCD. Fortunately, when individuals find the treatments that work for them and address their individual needs, it is possible to attain healthy lifestyles and behaviors as well as manage symptoms. Thus, relieving people of debilitating side effects of living with this condition. Some of the treatments that are helpful in treating patients living with OCD include:
Medications: Certain medications can help individuals diagnosed with OCD. Specifically, a class of antidepressants known as SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These medications can help to manage serotonin levels, which is often a major contributor to the development of OCD.
Therapy: Behavioral therapy, like CBT and DBT, are proven effective in helping individuals living with OCD. Basically, these therapies, whether individualized or in group settings, allow individuals to identify specific behaviors in their own lives. And, the anxiety that triggers these behaviors. This helps in structuring a healthy lifestyle and establishes coping skills and other techniques used in managing the symptoms of OCD.
Holistic Methods: Holistic therapies can help individuals living with OCD in a number of ways. Since OCD can be triggered by anxiety and stressful situations, holistic methods can help to relieve stress and evoke mindfulness. Thus, helping individuals to better be able to identify anxiety triggers and ways of managing anxiety and stress levels on a daily basis.
Since 2002, the Delray Center’s team of practitioners, led by board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Raul Rodriguez, has designed personalized treatment programs for those suffering from OCD. Our focus on the total health needs of clients. And the use of both integrative therapies and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Doing so has resulted in the successful treatment of OCD and other disorders. For more information on our methodology, click here.
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