OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an Anxiety Disorder in which persistent and disturbing images or thoughts invade the mind and repetitive actions, either physically or mentally, are conducted. The actions, or compulsions, are performed to temporarily relieve this person from some of the thoughts, or obsessions, that are constantly haunting the mind.

Who is affected?

Big image

What happens to the body?

When a person has OCD this affects the functioning of the neurotransmitters in the brain, which is part of the Central Nervous System. The neurotransmitters are very active, in some parts of the brain , for people with OCD. There are three main regions of the brain that are affected: the Orbitofrontal Cortex, Caudate nucleus (in the basal ganglia), and the Cingulate gyrus. These communication errors in the brain cause issues with behavior, planning, movement and emotions. They are caused by low serotonin (a chemical/neurotransmitter in the brain) levels and other chemicals such as dopamine and glutamate.

How does the disorder arise?

The cause for OCD has not yet been identified but there are many factors that could contribute to the condition arising. Since Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is the miscommunication of chemicals in the brain this means the cause must have affected the brain. Some ideas are that a combination of cognitive, genetic and environmental factors form this disorder. Perhaps, a traumatic experience increased anxiety, maybe causing a change in brain and body functioning, or environmental factors allowing new chemicals to interfere. This area is a little foggy and is still being studied.

What is the diagnosis? What are the symptoms?

Everyone experiences anxiety, stress and negative thoughts at some point in their life. Many people also feel the urge to clean/organize, but this is not OCD, this is merely perfectionism. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is recognizable when someone is having stressful and disturbing thoughts that then lead to time-consuming actions. When a person is experiencing obsessions and compulsions that interfere with their daily functioning, take excessive amounts of time and/or cause them high amounts of stress then they should talk with their doctor.

Are there any options for treatment?

Treatment? Yes. Cure? No. OCD is a disorder that will develop in adolescent years and will get progressively worse if not handled or cared for. Since Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an Anxiety Disorder, taking anti-depressant medications such as clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline. These medications will increase serotonin levels which should help to relieve some anxiety as the "messengers" in the brain slow down so they will work more efficiently. Also, another very helpful form of treatment, that is usually hand-in-hand with the medication, is cognitive behavior therapy. The therapy helps work on social skills and behavior so the patient can learn how to mange their stressful thoughts. While they already know their obsessions are absurd they have difficulties relieving the stress they feel from these thoughts in a healthy way (so that they are not performing the compulsions). So, these therapy sessions will show or talk about the problem the patient is having in a hope to almost desensitize the person to the feelings they have about the issue. People with OCD will also participate in yoga or other aerobic exercises. One other option, that is still being examined and improved, is an implantable device for deep brain stimulation that will send out pulses to somehow regulate (or attempt to regulate) the neurotransmitters.

What is the prognosis for someone with OCD?

The life expectancy for people with OCD is normal unless they commit suicide, which many people with Anxiety Disorders do. Treating these disorders, to the best of our ability, is a necessary step to take in order to help the people with these problems and their family and friends.
Debunking the myths of OCD - Natascha M. Santos
"Debunking the Myths of OCD - Natascha M. Santos." YouTube. N.p., 19 May 2015. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

Can Anxiety Disorders go hand-in-hand?

Yes, most of the time someone with an Anxiety Disorder will suffer symptoms of other Anxiety Disorders as well. Someone with OCD can experience forms of ADHD, some learning disorders, personality disorders, depression, eating disorders and/or substance abuse.