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Definition of OCD, Also Known As Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

July 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 181

Understanding Obsession

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, generally shortened to OCD, is becoming more and more well known. It affects around 1 in 50 people in the US alone, and numbers are growing. Most sufferers report that the disorder started in childhood, and there is some evidence to suggest that it may be hereditary. It is a very hard issue to treat, being caused by an individuals' thoughts, worries and sometimes irrational fears. This disorder is characterised by repetition of various rituals, actions and superstitions (such as counting, walking a certain way up the stairs, touching an item a set number of times) and the constant, nagging worries that accompany these actions.

The fourth most common mental disorder, OCD is characterised by the complete taking over of the mind by distressing and negative thoughts, and often an irrational fear of terrible events happening. The symptoms of OCD-repetition of rituals and habits-are caused by a subconscious belief by the sufferer that these actions will prevent the things they are afraid of from happening. The condition self perpetuates when the individual gains a little comfort from performing whatever their personal ritual is-whether it is hand washing, turning on and off a light switch or cleaning in a special way-and then feels as though they cannot continue with everyday life unless they perform these rituals.

It is very difficult to control these symptoms; some sufferers have described the compulsion to complete their self imposed tasks as an itch that must be scratched. It is very difficult and distressing to the sufferer to try to prevent them from going through their chosen rituals.

Most people who suffer from OCD are above average intelligence, and share traits such as good organisation and strict forward planning. The vast majority of sufferers recognise that their habits may be irrational or odd, and for many this adds to the distress of the condition.

It is a very hard thing to live with because along with the psychological issues that come with the disorder, OCD can make it hard to live everyday life on a practical level. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sufferers often share certain specific traits, such as hoarding of objects or food items, and many sufferers are overly concerned about hygiene. A significant number of different people's OCD manifests as excessive hand washing, showering or cleaning the house or surroundings. When the sufferer feels they "must" complete a series of rituals or certain ways of getting through the day, it can be hard for them to fulfill commitments to work, and family and friends can also suffer as a result.

Although it is the habits and rituals of OCD sufferers that makes the disorder so well known, fewer people are aware of the reasons behind the actions and the reasons for the disorder. It is negative fears and thoughts which cause the desire to perform the various "tasks"; these rituals are designed to somehow take away some of the fear, discomfort and negativity that affects OCD sufferers.

Although the majority of people suffer with uncomfortable, frightening or dark thoughts at times during their lives, OCD sufferers tend to attach greater significance to such intrusions, and they find it impossible to control them. Often OCD sufferers feel self loathing and inadequacy as a result of being unsure if they will act out their thoughts and fears.

Most of us like to see things neat and tidy, and a great many of us will perform tasks such as ordering books or food items by height for example, but the difference between this and OCD is that OCD sufferers feel compelled to perform these tasks, and are almost physically unable to stop themselves.

There is a large variety in the OCD spectrum, ranging from mild symptoms to those that cause people to struggle to lead a normal life. Many other conditions, such as excessive nail biting, picking at the skin, and pulling out the hair are included in the anxiety related syndrome.

OCD has been linked to a serotonin abnormality-serotonin being the "happy" hormone that may also play a role in reducing anxiety. OCD has been shown to respond to certain types of antidepressants that regulate this balance-however, diagnosis and understanding are the most important factors in helping someone manage their disorder.

Visit http://www.ocd-articles.com for more articles on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Source: EzineArticles
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