Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that brings substantial suffering and impairment. This condition is marked by intrusive obsessions that cause anxiety and distress, and all-consuming compulsions to cope with the obsessions. OCD can leave a negative impact on the patient’s work-life and relationships with other human beings. If you believe that you’re suffering from OCD, you should seek medical assistance right away. Accurate diagnosis and treatment of the mental disorder are possible under the care of a psychiatrist, like Dr. Amr Beltagui in Rancho Cucamonga.
Signs and Symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Adults
OCD is characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are repetitive and persistent perceptions, impulses, or mental pictures that bring distressing feelings like anxiety or disgust. If you have an obsessive-compulsive order, you may experience the following obsessions:
- Fear of Germs: You may feel scared about coming into contact with things that have been touched by other people such as door handles, or you may refrain from hugging or shaking hands with other people.
- Extreme Need for Order: You might experience stress when things are out of order and may find yourself being unable to leave your house until everything is well-arranged.
- Fear of Harming One’s Self or Others: When you are thinking of a completely different topic, thoughts about harming yourself or another person come creeping into your mind.
- Fear of Making Mistakes: You may feel that you require constant encouragement from other people that what you are doing is okay.
- A Fear of Embarrassment: Overwhelming worry that you may behave badly in public.
- Fear of Evil Thoughts: You might be faced with what is personally thought of as warped ideas on religious faith or sex.
Obsessions go hand-in-hand with compulsions. Compulsions are recurrent behaviors that you feel driven to carry out in response to your obsessions. They are aimed at avoiding or decreasing distress or a scary situation. The following are common signs of compulsions:
- Frequent Washing or Cleaning: You wash your hands or whole body at a concerningly high rate on any given day.
- Checking Things: You have a tendency to repeatedly check if appliances are switched off or whether you’ve locked the house well.
- Counting: You find yourself counting numbers in a pattern out loud or inwardly.
- Order: You can’t help but eat specific foods in a particular order. You arrange all your household items, including clothes and kitchen items, in a certain way.
- Routine: You feel the need to say or perform tasks a set amount of times in a specific way before you can leave your home.
- Hoarding: You collect and store things you do not necessarily use or require, and you are unable to stop yourself from obtaining and holding more.
- Mental Compulsions: In response to intrusive obsessions, you may silently pray or utter phrases to decrease anxiety or evade a dreaded event.
Diagnosis and Treatment of OCD
An OCD diagnosis session typically includes the following:
- A physical exam to check if a health condition can be attributed to igniting your symptoms
- Blood tests to inspect the status of your thyroid, blood count, and presence of drugs or alcohol
- A psychological assessment of your emotions, fears, obsessions, and compulsions
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be effectively treated through therapy, medications, self-help techniques, or any combination of these. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most commonly used medications for effectively treating OCD.