Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a type of psychiatric disorder in which person loses control over his/ her own thoughts and actions. These thoughts will run intrusively and repetitively in their mind without any reason or they have to perform certain actions or rituals repetitively without any reason. It consists of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety while compulsions are repetitive behaviours, thoughts or rituals that the person feels compelled to perform, often to reduce the distress caused by the obsession. Common examples of obsessions and compulsions include –

• Washing and cleaning – person fears about contamination even he/ she touches apparently clean objects and then they will repetitively wash and clean themselves.

• Checking – they will have doubts about their every activity like switching off electric switch or locking the door and then they will repetitively check for any mistakes done their their actions.

• Ordering or obsession for symmetry – they will always want things to be kept in certain way or do the things in certain way. If unable to do so they will feel anxious.

• Hoarding – they are always worried about leaving things behind. They may also be unable to throw out things such as napkins plastic bags, etc.

• Obsessive thoughts – they will have certain thoughts, images or impulsive urges which are not comfortable like aggressive thoughts, sexual thoughts etc.

Causes for OCD –

Genetic – Some genetic factors have been implicated in causation of OCD. If any close family member is affected then risk for occurrence of OCD in that person is also increased.

Biological factors – Research has revealed link between occurrence of OCD and disturbance in certain neurochemicals like serotonine. In functional MRI studies there also have been evidence for disturbance in functioning of certain brain areas like anterior cingulated gyrus, orbital prefrontal cortex or amygdale.

Psychological theory – This theory proposes origin of obsessions as a result of fear to some object or event which will get learned over a period of time while compulsions originates as result of person’s struggle to minimize anxiety because of obsessions.

Treatment for OCD –

Medications - OCD can respond to treatment if treatment is started early. It may take several weeks for medicines to show their action on symptoms but with persistent treatment maximum patients will respond. Drugs used for treatment of OCD include fluoxetine, srtraline, paroxetine, clomipramine etc.

Psychotherapy – Cognitive behavioural therapy, cognitive therapy, behavioural therapy are few