It’s nice to be neat and tidy. It’s nicer when you have a home and an office space that’s looks swanky, impeccable and spot free. A cause of concern arises when this habit of tidiness is taken to another degree. This incessant urge of cleaning, checking and then re-checking things or objects ensuring they are in order to the point that it interferes with daily chores is known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In other words, an obsession is a continuous thought, image or an idea that in reality doesn’t make sense but will continue to intrude a person’s mind. A classic example is a thought of leaving the lights on every time you lock the door. You realize this fear is baseless but you just can’t stop thinking about it and thus, you keep checking the lights every few minutes.
Types and Causes Of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The first one is contamination obsessions i.e. either washing or cleaning compulsions. Here a person may feel that their hands are dirty after touching a door handle. To get rid of this worry, they wash hands for hours at times.
We then have harm obsessions that come with checking compulsions. A person with this OCD sub-type imagines his house burning down and they repeatedly come home to ensure that there is no fire. Or one may feel that just by thinking about the disastrous event might increase the probability of it happening.
The third one is visible compulsions that involve unwanted and unnecessary obsessions surrounding aggressive, sexual or religious themes. This disorder makes a person think dangerous thoughts of someone harming them or they resort to mental routines such as chanting specific words or pray to relieve their involuntary thoughts.
Obsessions with symmetry like arranging, counting and ordering compulsions are seen in many. When it comes to this sub-type, the person feels a strong need to rearrange or align objects until they seem just right.
And lastly, we have hoarding. It involves accumulating items that are disregarded by others such as old coins, clothes, antique accessories, notes, receipts or containers. This clutter takes up a lot of space that it gets impossible to live and lead a normal life at home.
As bizarre as it may sound, these disorders do exist and many continue to suffer till today. The other obsessive-compulsive disorders include skin pricking which is also known as excoriation. The persistent pricking leads to infections and lesions with significant and intense distress. There’s also hair pulling disorder which is widely referred to as trichotillomania. People here cannot resist the urge to pull hair; be it their head, arms, legs, chest or pubic area. These learned behaviors become incessant when they get associated with comfort and ease from anxiety. However, there are many researchers who are still trying to find any neurological differences between trichotillomania and the human brain.
Treatment For Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
There are umpteen options when it comes to treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorders. To start with, there’s Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) where patients are encouraged to change their thinking patterns and behaviors that can trigger obsessive-compulsive symptoms. CBT gradually exposes the person to events or situations by simultaneously helping them reduce their avoidance and compulsive behaviors. These exposure events are repeated until the person bit-by-bit gets comfortable in their anxiety situation.
Medication such as anti-depressants reduce the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. Although it should be duly noted that these pills are to be prescribed by a doctor. When one goes the down the drug therapy route, it comes with certain side-effects. Anti-depressant side-effects include nausea, headaches, dizziness, mood-swings, tiredness and dry mouth. In case these side-effects persist, one needs to go and consult their medical practitioner. Apart from these, there are self-help tips for people struggling with OCD. By just refocusing their attention like writing, baking, jogging or painting they can delay that urge to give in to that compulsive behaviour. Setting aside a time to worry can help treat obsessive compulsive habits. So when a worrisome thought pops in an individual’s mind, they can jot it down and postpone it to the ‘worry period’. This will help them stay obsession or compulsion free for the rest of the day.
People need to realize the importance of self-care especially in this day and age. Managing stress and most importantly their positive reactions to every day strain can play a pivotal role in eliminating any kind of emotional or compulsive behaviour for good.