Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder that impacts 4 million people in the United States. Although OCD can occur at any age, the average age of first appearance are between 8-12 years old and into the late teen/early adulthood. Obsessions are persistent images or thoughts that cause stressful emotions such as anger, grief, distaste, or shame. Some people with obsessive compulsive disorder know that their obsessions don’t make sense, but they can’t ignore or stop them. This is completely normal in this condition and if you’re suffering from these persistent thoughts, you’re not alone.
When one experiences invasive and unwanted thoughts they can’t control, it goes from the realm of being considered annoying to obsessive. Sometimes these thoughts won’t happen to often or will only be triggered in certain instances, but other times a person may have obsessive thoughts all the time and wish to get rid of them and feel free of their hold. To get rid of these feelings that come from the obsessions, people perform certain behaviors that follow rules or steps they make up for themselves; these are called compulsions. Compulsive behavior can also be referred to as ritualistic actions. An example is one who may obsess about germs so frequently that they wash their hands raw until the fear goes away after rinsing dozens of times.
Compulsive hand washing is one of the most common compulsions tied to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Those with OCD can spend hours of their day washing and cleaning personal belongings or surfaces until their compulsion is met, and this also applies to the compulsion for achieving a feeling of cleanliness by repetitively showering multiple times per day. Some other examples of obsessive- compulsive disorder are:
- Checking the weather excessively
- Checking the oven if it’s on or off
- If the doors and windows has been locked
- Repeating a phrase, number, or word multiple times before they can relax
- Switching on and off lights in their house repeatedly
- Repeating something under their breath because of this fear that repeating it will prevent dangers from occurring
The exact cause of OCD is still unknown, but researchers have found that it may be due to a lack in chemicals between nerve cells. One such chemical called serotonin helps prevent people from repeating behaviors over and over again. A person who has OCD often does not produce enough serotonin , causing them to repeat the same behavior repeatedly until it’s completed successfully, or they break down into tears out of frustration. Symptoms usually begin during childhood or adolescence with around 1/3rd affecting women more than men overall (though this statistic varies among age groups).
You cannot prevent OCD once you have it, the symptoms will always be there with you even if they become dormant at times. It’s a chronic condition that needs to be managed by following your treatment plan and taking any prescribed medications as suggested even when you start to feel better. If you think that you may have OCD, it is important to see someone who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. They will ask about your symptoms – behaviors, obsessions/compulsions which impact or interfere with day-to-day life. An accurate diagnosis of OCD requires an experienced professional, as this can sometimes be confused with other disorders. Thankfully, here at Empire Psychiatry New York , we have the experiences to provide relief for your needs. We have created a system with the goal of providing peace of mind for our patients. We have come up with this mission after working closely and understanding the needs of thousands of patients to provide better service than anyone else in our industry! For more information or help with your OCD, send us an email, or contact us today.