Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety (psychiatric) disorder which is characterised by involuntary thoughts, unpleasant ideas, obsessions or behaviours.
A person with OCD performs a particular thing repeatedly (as compulsions). He/she will repeat the set of behaviors, like washing hands, even after it is done, he/she tends to do it repeatedly OR closing the tap/door repeatedly. This repetition is not for a day, it rules your life and you repeatedly do it daily.
The person suffering from this disorder is not aware of such acts and when asked about their repeated behaviours, they answer it casually and they start justifying that what they are doing is right. It is very difficult to make them understand. They may argue with you or they may also turn violent.
This disorder may affect people of any age – children, adolescent or adult. There are several kinds of OCD. OCD that starts in childhood may differ from that which begins in adulthood.
- OCD may be due to insufficient level of serotonin, which is brain’s chemical messenger.
- Genetics is also another reason; it is likely that OCD sufferers will have a family member with the problem.
- A streptococcal infection of the throat is known to occasionally result in the body confusing healthy cells with the infection and causing cellular damage. According to the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), mental illnesses like OCD in children can be triggered by infections.
- Depression – People who are depressed may have an OCD or vice-versa. Care should be taken that in such cases the person should not be left alone or neglected, even minute discouragement may disappoint them and may go into further depression (hyper).
- Fear of things like: getting contaminated by dirt, making mistakes, thinking evil or sinful thoughts, causing harm to another, being embarrassed or behaving in a socially unacceptable manner, losing or not having things you need.
- Excessive doubt: Person repeatedly double-triple checking things like: Switch/gas is turned off/not, door locked/not, etc.
- Doubters: A person starts getting scared that if anything they do goes wrong, something terrible would happen or they will be punished.
- Superstitions: They may be superstitions certain arrangements or colours. Being excessive religious.
- Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts.
- Counting, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.
- Repeatedly checking in with loved ones to make sure they’re safe.
- Spending a lot of time washing, cleaning, wearing clothes, and taking a bath.
Minor obsessions are Okay. But when these obsessions become a habit, it takes a toll in our daily life and it’s difficult to manage. These (obsessions/compulsions) are normally unwanted thoughts and they should be avoided. When a person comes to know that he/she is getting more and more obsessed with certain things, the person should try to reduce and stop them.
Also, elders should observe that person (OCD) and should not be harsh to them as the person (OCD) who is depressed may take it in a wrong way and take some serious steps. When someone gets harsh to the person with OCD, he/she doesn’t listen to what they say. They become stubborn.
They try to avoid such people. A person with OCD think that what they are doing (repeating) is right and they need not be corrected and if pointed out, they feel bad. They become more and more stubborn and they start arguing. They think they are alone and no one can understand them.
In such cases, it is better to counsel the person (suffering from OCD). You need to be very polite to them and say that “what they are doing is not at all required, and everything will be okay, if they are normal and don’t repeat things”.
They can’t reduce obsessions all of sudden, it is always better to make them understand politely (these obsessions are just like drugs, they can’t stop all of a sudden, as they may react like mad-if forced). And never leave them alone or make them feel you can’t understand them.
Best ways to overcome OCD
- Avoid things which make you do so. Like, ask some other person to close the door instead you doing it repeatedly.
- Open the tap, wash your hands, close the tap once and just leave the place. Do not stand there and think.
- Make yourself busy, so that unnecessary thoughts do not surround you. Divert your mind when you get such thoughts.
- Go out, speak to people, and make friends. Never be alone. Do not stick on to one thing or place (like playing games on computer for a long time).
- Meditate, walk, and exercise.
- Do not be superstitious. God won’t punish you, if you don’t repeat praying (bowing down 100 times).
- You can also write down the obsessive thoughts; may be writing down the same lines/words many times, help you realise that you have been thinking such things which are unwanted for and useless.
- Please do not keep anything in heart. Open-up. If you can’t say the worry which is on your mind just write down in your diary.
- Please do share your thoughts with someone whom you trust (who don’t make fun of you), so that he/she may take you to the doctor.
Suggestion to others (friends/family):
- Do not be harsh on the person with OCD.
- Never leave them alone or make them feel lonely.
- Take them for counseling.
- Take them to the doctor, they may suggest you medicine and certain therapy which may help the patient to overcome the disorder.
The causes of Obsessive compulsive disorder differ and it is possible to live normal and successful life. Care should be taken that the obsession or compulsions are avoided and treated on time.