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Anxiety: What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Jul 16, 2008
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. If you have OCD, you have repeated, upsetting thoughts called obsessions. You do the same thing over and over again to try to make the thoughts go away. Those repeated actions are called compulsions.

Obsessions seen in OCD vary widely from person to person. Some examples of common OCD obsessions are:

~ exaggerated fears of contamination/germs from contact with people or everyday items
~ nagging doubts about having locked the windows or the doors to the home, car, or garage
~ excessive concerns about having turned off the stove, hair dryer, coffee pot, or other household appliances
~ overwhelming urges to arrange items in a particular order so that they are "just right"
~ fears of committing a harmful, violent, or immoral action

Other compulsions include washing your hands, counting, fear of being hurt, checking on things or cleaning. Untreated, OCD can take over your life. Researchers think brain circuits may not work properly in people who have OCD. It tends to run in families. The symptoms often begin in children or teens.

Science plays a great deal in how anxious you might feel. But in this case it is not biology but chemistry that can impact you. The amount of serotonin or adrenaline or any combination of hormones can determine how you act and react. Since the brain is the center of all the activity of the nervous system, whatever is released into it will produce a specific behavior. When certain chemicals are elevated, it causes the nervous system to go into a state of panic, and you will be extremely anxious and frazzled as a result. Because of these occurrences, there are a wide variety of counterproductive chemicals that have been created, and are prescribed to people with chronic anxiety issues.

What can be done?
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an empirically supported treatment that focuses on patterns of thinking that are maladaptive and the beliefs that underlie such thinking. For example, a person who is depressed may have the belief, "I'm worthless," and a person with a phobia may have the belief, "I am in danger." While the person in distress likely holds such beliefs with great conviction, with a therapist's help, the individual is encouraged to view such beliefs as hypotheses rather than facts and to test out such beliefs by running experiments. Furthermore, those in distress are encouraged to monitor and log thoughts that pop into their minds in order to enable them to determine what patterns of biases in thinking may exist and to develop more adaptive alternatives to their thoughts.

Many psychiatrists feel that the only effective treatment for OCD involves medication with psychiatric drugs like Clomipramine, Prozac or other SSRI's (drugs which prevent the uptake of serotonin). While psychiatric drug therapy can often relieve the symptoms of OCD, there are associated risks of side effects as well as an effect on overall health. This often results in the individual having to take a variety of different prescription drugs, which is both expensive and not ideal from a health point of view.

It is important to realize that treatment with psychiatric drugs is not the only answer.

Many people are using aromatherapy - natures cure for anxiety and depression. Essential oils, the pure essence of a plant, have been found to provide both psychological and physical benefits. Essential oils that are inhaled into the lungs offer both psychological and physical benefits. Not only does the aroma of the natural essential oil stimulate the brain to trigger a reaction, but when inhaled into the lungs, the natural ingredients supply therapeutic benefit. Using lavender essential oil to help ease insomnia is a prominent example.
About the Author
Sherry Harris is the author of the successful e-book "Best Practices Guide: 101 Amazingly Simple Ways to Beat Insomnia". It was created to be The Definitive Guide of insomnia treatments on the Net. You can download the FREE PDF e-book or click on the link. After you grab your free e-book, visit the rest of the website http://www.ScentToSleep.com where you will find products to wipe out insomnia.
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