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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms

Apr 14, 2008
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is unfortunately a very common anxiety disorder nowadays, its main characteristics being recurrent intrusive thoughts that have a good chance to result in repetitive behavior. The patient gets unwanted thoughts or obsessions that keep coming to his or her mind in the form of fears, worries and even a strong need to do things. These obsessions are likely to worsen if the person is under stress.

The behaviors resulting from someone's obsessive thoughts are called compulsions and look like some rituals; the patient repeats certain actions (such as washing hands, as most of them seem to be bothered by the existence of germs) in an obsessive manner.

While the obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms are not difficult to detect (in most cases, the description of the behaviour made by the patient is enough, while in other cases psychiatric evaluation through tests is a must), the exact cause of this anxiety disorder is not known. For many years it was thought to be a rare disorder but recently tests have shown that it is rather widely spread. Scientists are inclined to believe it is a biological abnormality (though it was initially considered to be the result of head injury or infections) because a certain type of tomography that uses an imaging procedure shows abnormal chemical activity in some regions of the patient's brain.

The symptoms of this disorder may be mild or serious and they usually appear early in life, mostly between the ages of twenty and thirty, striking men and women alike, irrespective of their race. People with mild obsessive compulsive disorder sometimes manage to control themselves and conceal this condition when they are at work for example but will most likely manifest in private.

There is a wide range of other disorders that accompany OCD: anxiety, depression, eating disorders etc. Some of the patients are luckily able to understand how unrealistic and inappropriate their thoughts and behaviours are and maybe that is why they can control their impulses a lot better than others, but on the whole, this disorder is not easy to control.

Antidepressants and behavioral therapy are effective for most patients and these are the basic remedies that control OCD. Psychotherapy is used to reduce anxiety and resolve inner conflicts but at the same time it is very effective against stress. A thought-stopping technique is used to teach the patient to stop any unwanted thoughts and focus attention on relieving the anxiety symptoms. An additional technique of exposure/ response prevention applied in obsessive compulsive disorder consists in repeatedly exposing the patient to a certain situation known to trigger anxiety symptoms, until he or she has learned to resist the need to perform the compulsion.

Unfortunately, patients with obsessive compulsion disorder cannot be cured. Once the disorder has settled in, the patient can be helped to keep it under control with medication and therapy but sooner or later the old symptoms will come back and a new therapy session plus appropriate medication will be needed. What regular treatment can do is keep this disorder in its mildest possible form so that the patients won't feel disabled because if it.
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Get help with treatment for OCD and find out more about obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms so you can recognize them more easily.
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