• Amy Shannon

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is when an individual has obsessive thoughts and exhibits compulsive behaviours. OCD can affect people at any stage in life, although, the main time when OCD symptoms start showing is during teenage years i.e. throughout puberty. Obsessions tend to be unpleasant and unwelcome thoughts and images the repetitively enter an individual's mind which may cause anxiety. Compulsions are behaviours that are exhibited to help the individual lessen the extent of their anxiety from their obsessive thoughts.

Symptoms of OCD

Common obsessions include:

- The need for cleanliness and fear of germs,

- A fear of not being accepted and that their behaviour may affect this,

- Fears of accidentally causing harm to another person,

- The need for everything to be symmetrical and exact.

Compulsions may include:

- Making sure everything is completely spotless and clean with no room for imperfection,

- Checking that mundane things are done multiple times in a row,

- Counting things over and over again to make sure you've counted correctly i.e. change,

- Making sure they get dressed in the correct pattern and way or they will completely restart getting dressed until they get it right.

Causes of OCD

Things that may cause OCD to include:

- Family History - Just like a lot of mental health conditions, if you have a family member with OCD, this will give you a higher risk of getting OCD yourself,

- Traumatic Life Events - Again, just like a lot of other mental health issues, OCD can be caused by traumas,

- The Brain - In people with OCD, there may be a lower level of serotonin in their more active parts of their brain.

- Personality Traits - People who are methodical and meticulous about all aspects of their life are more likely to develop OCD.

The Impact of OCD

Most individuals with OCD, before they receive treatment, have very disrupted live due to their obsessions and compulsions. Compulsions may take time and therefore they may not be able to hold onto a job or have time during the day to do the things they need to. It may also affect their ability to have longterm relationships as the may feel anxious, ashamed and uneasy about telling the other people about their condition due to a fear of rejection. As a result of this, they may feel lonely because they have caused themselves to become very introverted due to a lack of close and personal relationships.

Treatments for OCD

Psychological Therapy - The most common type of psychological therapy offered to an individual with OCD is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This is designed to help with dulling the fears and obsessive thoughts the individual may be having.

Medication - The individual may also be given Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI's) which are antidepressants which may help dull the loudness of the obsessive thoughts.

Individuals may also be given both treatments should they require it.

Amy Shannon



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