Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
What is OCD?
Body System Affected
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects the nervous sytem, but scientists have not yet established the cause of OCD. Many believe it may be a combination of biological and environmental factors. Researchers are investigating the possibility of a genetic susceptibility to the condition. Some evidence suggests OCD may involve abnormal functioning of the brain, perhaps associated with an inadequate level of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Correct Function of the Body System Affected
The basic functioning of the nervous system depends a lot on tiny cells called neurons. The brain has billions of them, and they have many specialized jobs. For example, sensory neurons take information from the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin to the brain.
Onset and Target Population
OCD is diagnosed using a psychiatric assessment. OCD is diagnosed only when the person’s obsessions and compulsions cause distress and interfere with their ability to perform regular tasks. Such as going to school, work, or being in a relationship. The diagnosis also requires the person (only if not a child) to recognize that obsessions and compulsions are unreasonable and/or excessive.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs/Symptoms of OCD:
Excessive concern with dirt, germs
Red chapped hand due to over-washing
Avoid touching specific things in fear of contamination
Showering, washing, grooming often in a ritualistic appearance
Counting and/or repeating things a certain number of times
Rewriting numbers until they are just right
Having exaggerated fear of harm to yourself or others
Excessive fear of doing things wrong or having done things wrong
Getting upset if routine is not followed
Having things orderly and symmetrical
Aggressive thoughts about harming yourself and/or others
Doubts you’ve locked the door, turned off the stove, etc.
Thoughts about acting inappropriately
Treatment can only lessen obsessions and compulsions, not completely eradicate them. One option for treatment is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). These may reduce OCD symptoms by affecting serotonin levels. Other psychiatric medicines may also be prescribed to help control your condition. Behavioral Therapy is another option that can be used to address the situation. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is used to treat both thoughts associated with OCD and actions associated with OCD.
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Scholten, Amy, MPH. "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: OCD." Consumer Health Complete. EBSCOhost, 01 Aug. 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)." Symptoms. Mayo Clinic, 09 Aug. 2013. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.