Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, more commonly known as OCD, is a problem that affects more and more people. Recurrent, intrusive thoughts very often prevent patients from functioning normally, and certain activities that they simply have to perform arouse surprise and incomprehension in others. Find out what exactly OCD is and how it can be overcome.
What exactly is Obsessive Compulsive Syndrome?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a problem that affects a relatively large percentage of the entire community – it is estimated that OCD may affect up to 2.5% of the entire population. A patient struggling with this problem suffers from intrusive thoughts and very intense obsessions that prevent him from functioning normally. Self-thoughts appear against the will of the sick person and it is very difficult to get rid of them.
Types of intrusive thoughts
Patients struggling with Obsessive Compulsive Syndrome most often complain of the following types of obsessive thoughts:
- Uncertainty – the patient still has the impression that he or she did not do something or did it inaccurately. For example, he can repeatedly check that he has closed the door, turned off the light, turned off the oven, unplugged the iron, and washed his hands well. Uncertainty usually relates to activities of daily living that we do on a regular basis.
- Luminations – the patient has a tendency to spend hours debating one topic. He is unable to make a specific decision or draw constructive conclusions. The more he dwells on the subject, the less resolute he becomes.
- Vulgar thoughts – the patient struggles with intrusive and unwanted thoughts of an obscene nature. These thoughts appear especially when it is completely inappropriate, for example, when meeting friends or at church.
- Intrusive impulses – the patient thinks that he may be inappropriate or aggressive towards people who are close to him. He constantly feels that he will misbehave, e.g. he will kick the baby, hit the mother, etc.
- Fear of dirt and perfectionism – many patients complain of an obsessive need to maintain order or an obsessive fear of dirt and uncleanness.
- Other compulsions – the patient may struggle with other obsessions that are incomprehensible to him, but at the same time inevitable and cannot be opposed to them.
Patients who suffer from obsessive disorder may also complain of additional symptoms. In addition to intrusive thoughts, they often struggle with various types of fears, tics, unreal and even depression! This is why the problem of obsessions should never be ignored.
Obsessive-compulsive syndrome in children
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a problem that affects not only adults – children and adolescents also often struggle with it. The causes of disorders may be various and result, among others, from from abnormalities in the structure and functioning of the central nervous system, perinatal load, as well as genetic factors. In addition to the adults struggling with symptoms, children can engage in intrusive activities without intrusive thoughts; moreover, many cases are children who also suffer from other disorders, such as ADHD, tics, behavioral disorders, anxiety states. The diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder in children is usually more complicated than in adults, because very often, out of shame, they do not want to admit their obsessions.
Treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder
Compulsive thoughts make everyday functioning difficult and lead to great mental suffering, which can turn into even more serious disorders over time. Postponing a visit to a therapist can lead to an exacerbation of obsession, so it is so important to report the problem to a specialist as soon as you notice the first symptoms. Who to go to with the problem? In the case of obsessive-compulsive syndrome, the first contact specialist should be a psychologist who will help in identifying the problem and propose appropriate treatment methods.
During the first visit to the therapist, the patient can expect a very extensive interview, which is based on casual conversation and asking questions by the therapist. The discussed issues may concern not only the essence of the problem, but also various spheres of life, including childhood, private and professional life. If the patient’s condition is serious and the OCD is in an advanced stage, the therapist may recommend a consultation with a psychiatrist who will perform the necessary tests, eg EEG, tomography or MRI.
People who struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder of a mild or moderate nature may feel better after just a few meetings with a therapist. One of the common treatments is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, where the patient has to face his obsessions, gradually learning how to stop intrusive activities.