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Obsessive compulsive disorder: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About obsessive compulsive disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder. It is one of most common psychiatric disorders seen worldwide. It is characterised by increased anxious behaviour compelling the affected individuals to perform certain routine activities, so as to overcome their anxiety. They may have persistent thoughts of fear, anxiety and apprehension.

Obsessive compulsive disorder: Incidence, age and sex

Obsessive compulsive disorder has no affinity to specific gender or race. The onset of this disorder is commonly seen in adolescence or young adults. It is seen that young men are more affected than young women. It may rarely affect children.

Signs and symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder: Diagnosis

The primary clinical features of obsessive compulsive disorder include relentless thoughts that compel the affected individual to perform certain habitual tasks repeatedly. Such individuals indulge in this characteristic behaviour to combat their anxiousness which may give them temporary relief. There are no physical health concerns regarding this disorder.

The diagnosis is made by an experienced psychiatrist. It needs to be differentiated from several other psychiatric disorders.

Causes and prevention of obsessive compulsive disorder

The cause of obsessive compulsive disorder is not clearly known. According to Sigmund Freud’s theories, they may be caused by suppression of conflicts during early childhood. There may be restricted environment during growing up years, due to which, the child is unable to express his desire and feels the need to do the opposite. This conflict remains in his unconscious mind and may express later as compulsive behaviour.

Relaxation of mind by meditation or other methods may help in relieving any conflicting thoughts. Parents, who discover any abnormal changes in the behaviour of their child, should take immediate help from the therapist in evaluating the condition.

Obsessive compulsive disorder: Complications

Obsessive compulsive disorder may have distressing personal and social implications. The individual may develop low self-esteem and even depression leading to suicidal thoughts and behaviour. They may start consuming alcohol or other abusive substances. Sometimes affected individuals may develop abnormal eating habits. Affected individuals may fail to complete their routine work in time. Moreover, personal or social relationships may get hampered due to their excessive anxiety.

Obsessive compulsive disorder: Treatment

Obsessive compulsive disorder, once diagnosed, can be treated by various treatment methods including psychotherapy, self-help or medications. Cognitive behavioural therapy has been useful in several affected individuals. This therapy trains the individual to refrain from the compulsive behaviour by diverting his/her attention to other activities.

Medications like anti-depressants may also be prescribed for the treatment of this disorder. It is essential for family members to provide adequate emotional support during therapy to overcome his/her excessive anxiety.