What is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a brain disorder that causes individuals to have numerous obsessions. This anxiety disorder causes the brain to create intrusive thoughts that prompt individuals to establish rituals and routines that are meant to calm their extreme anxiety.  For example, an individual suffering with OCD may have symptoms that lead them to excessive cleaning, repeated checking, and hoarding

What causes OCD?
Researchers have found that many patients who have OCD have a family history of the disorder. Currently scientists do not know the main causes of the disorder. However, researchers are working hard to study the parts of the brain that deal with fear and anxiety. In the future, they hope to better understand the ways in which stress and the environment influence the symptoms of OCD.

How do we diagnose OCD?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are many signs and symptoms that indicate the existence of OCD.

  • Have repeated thoughts or images about many different things, such as fear of germs, dirt, or intruders; acts of violence; hurting loved ones; sexual acts; conflicts with religious beliefs; or being overly tidy
  • Do the same rituals over and over such as washing hands, locking and unlocking doors, counting, keeping unneeded items, or repeating the same steps again and again
  • Can’t control the unwanted thoughts and behaviors
  • Don’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but get brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
  • Spend at least 1 hour a day on the thoughts and rituals, which cause distress and get in the way of daily life.

Treatment Options

There are a variety of treatments for those who suffer with OCD. Firstly, patient have the option of undergoing cognitive behavior therapy. With the help of therapists, one will learn different ways of behaving and thinking so that they will be less anxious during obsessive episodes. Additionally, therapists use methods such as exposure and response prevention to decrease the anxieties associated with a certain ritual. Moreover, there are certain medications that aid in the symptoms of OCD. For example, some doctors prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. However, it is important that you talk to your doctor for the best treatment plan.