Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Symptoms, Signs, and Risk Factors

Abstract

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a mental illness and behavioral disorder. Throw this paper I’ll be summarising my research on the causes, symptoms and cures of the same. Looking into the history of disease, I found that it was treatment-resistant until mid-1960s and only in the 1990s, there was a significant hike in the number of patients suffering from OCD.

What is OCD?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder in which a person feels the urge to perform certain tasks repeatedly.

The unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations are referred as obsessions and repeated routines are as compulsions. For instance, obsessions might involve a fear of contamination or making a mistake. Many people have repeated behaviors but those may not affect them on a regular basis but make their tasks easier. But for people with OCD, these thoughts are continuous and rigid and ignoring them affects them in a great way causing distress.

What are Obsessions?

Urges that recur and persist, despite trying hard to ignore or confront them are called Obsessions (wikipedia).

People suffering from OCD are subjected to aggressive thought process and unnecessary worries.Further they get engaged in particular activities in order to satiate the anxiety and suppress such fears. These obsessions result in adverse emotions like fear, doubt, disgust and make the person disturbed and uncomfortable.

What are Compulsions?

Compulsion is a very strong desire to do something. Sometimes people with OCD pertain to certain behavior because they feel they have to and can’t resist it or sometimes they do so in order to get rid of the anxiety and fear.

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Not every repetitive ritual is a compulsion.

Signs and Symptoms

OCD has been a common disease lately. Around 2.3% of people are affected by it at some point in their lives. Both men and women have been equally affected according to the studies. The unusual symptoms arise around the age of 35 while the disorder starts surfacing the person at an age as early as 20. Further studies proved that these signs tend to develop faster in children than adults. Although no specific symptoms have been identified, both environmental and genetic factors facilitate the degree of OCD. Furthermore, child abuse history and taking high stress have also been some of the prima facie reasons for the same.

As already said, people having OCD know about their excessive nature of obsessions but are unable to control the compulsions.

According to studies, some common obsessions are –

  • Fear of being contaminated by infections, dirt, etc. based on hygiene.
  • Fear that person will be subjected to some sort of disease or illness.
  • Fear of death or of meeting with an accident.
  • Unusual thoughts about sex, violance.
  • Obsession with symmetry and order.
  • Fear of forgetting things.
  • Fear of God and superstitions.
  • Trying to do everything with perfection.

Some common compulsions are –

  • Repeated washing of hands, body, face, objects, etc.
  • Brushing teeth in excess.
  • Multiple times checking locks, door knobs, appliances, etc.
  • Doing daily activities many times and keeping a check.
  • Movements of body in some specific manner.
  • Misleading positive with negatives.
  • Way too particular about orientation/placement of certain things.
  • Repeated questioning in order to seek assurance.
  • Undermining self.
  • Constant phone calls.

These “symptoms” or “signs” have been commonly observed in people suffering from OCD. However, studies still need to confirm the exact factors about the disorder in order to design better treatments.

Risk Factors and Causes for OCD

Compulsions and obsessions can take significant time of one’s routine. Avoiding it can lead to severe consequences as it will only lead to increasing fears. Studies have shown that most of the people who have OCD are afraid/embarrassed about it and tend to hide it, which in turn leads to distress and depression. Compulsions are mere actions that are learned over time and become repetitive once subjected to relief of anxiety. After multiple researches, certain risk factors can be accountable for OCD and hence one needs to be cautious about them. Some of the observed factors are listed below.

  • Age: Late adolescence or early adulthood. However, some cases have also been found as early as preschool and as late as the age of 40.
  • Genetic Factors: According to research, a person is 25% more likely to have OCD if he has a blood relative with OCD (hereditary). Another study stated that OCD symptoms inheritance rate was 45%-60% among children and 27%-47% in case of adults. (Twin and family studies)
  • Presence of Other Mental or Neurologic Conditions : Those who have similar disorders like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, etc. are likely to have this too.
  • Stress: Stress caused due to major setbacks in life like loss of loved ones, divorce, physical or sexual abuse etc. is also one of the causes.
  • Pregnancy and Postpartum Period : Fluctuating hormonal levels of mother can adversely affect the child.
  • Brain Structure: According to the imaging studies, OCD patients have a varied difference in frontal cortex and subcortical structures.

Diagnosis

According to American Psychiatric Association, the diagnostic criteria for OCD :

  • Presence of compulsions/obsessions/both.
  • The compulsions and obsessions consume time on a daily basis.
  • Emotional distress and functional disturbance due to compulsions/obsessions.
  • Patient feels that behaviours are disruptive and unusual.
  • The above were not a side effect of some drug or medication.
  • If these are substantially identified, then the person can be given a diagnosis of OCD.

Treatment

OCD is a curable disorder and the treatment depends on how much it is affecting the concerned.

Cite this page

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Symptoms, Signs, and Risk Factors. (2021, Apr 19). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd-symptoms-signs-and-risk-factors-essay

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