OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder): Trying to Understand

WHAT IS OCD?

OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviors.

FACTS

In the United States, about 1 in 40 adults (about 2.3% of the population) suffers from OCD.

More than 1/4 of adults (over 60 million people) have experienced OCD symptoms at some point in their life.

Approximately, 1 in every 100 children has OCD.

About 1 in every 100 OCD symptoms are caused by a neurobiological problem combined with genetic, behavioral, cognitive, and environmental factors that trigger the disorder in a specific individual at a particular point in time.

About 25% of OCD  sufferers have an immediate family member with the disorder.

Among mental health disorders, OCD has the third highest proportion of seriously disabling cases, surpassed only by bipolar disorder and drug dependence.

BREAKING THE MYTH OF OCD’S CAUSES:

STRESS

Stress doesn’t cause OCD, although symptoms sometimes begin after a severe trauma.

ILLNESS

Childhood illnesses do not cause OCD, although there is a growing evidence that severe bacterial or viral infections may trigger the sudden onset of symptoms in children who are genetically predisposed to OCD.

PARENTING

There is no evidence that the way parents’ guide or discipline their children causes OCD, however, children might learn obsessions and compulsions from their parents.

FAMILY ACCOMMODATIONS

Families may unintentionally have an impact on the maintenance of OCD symptoms, family members may actually be enabling the individual with OCD, and symptoms worsen, rather than improve.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF OCD?

OCD IS DIAGNOSED WHEN OBSESSIONS AND COMPULSIONS:

Consume excessive amounts of time (an hour or more each day).

Cause significant distress.

Interfere with daily functioning at work or school, or with social activities, family relationships and/or normal routines.

In some cases, compulsions are shaped by the nature of obsessions.

In other cases, the compulsive behavior is completely unrelated to the obsession.

Obsessions and compulsions cause anxiety that interferes with normal life.

THE MOST COMMON OCD OBSESSIONS & RITUALS

  1. Fear of germs and/or contamination
  2. Fear that harm, illness or death will occur to oneself or others and/or of causing harm to oneself or others (including violent or aggressive obsessions).
  3. Fears, feelings, and/or urges related to numbers (“good”, “bad” and “magical” numbers).
  4. Fears, feelings, and/or urges related to discarding something and fears or contamination.
  5. Excessive fear of violating religious or moral rules.
  6. Fears, feelings, and/or urges related to symmetry or order.
  7. Fears, feelings, urges, and/or images related to sexual content.
  8. Excessive doubting/dread of uncertainty.
  9. Fears, feelings, and/or urges related to having something “just right”, “just so” or “perfect”.

CONDITIONS THAT MAY CO-EXIST WITH OCD:

PEOPLE WITH OCD MUCH MORE OFTEN THAN NOT HAVE AT LEAST ONE OTHER CO-EXISTING DISORDER.

  1. Anxiety Disorders (we already established that OCD is a type of anxiety disorder)
  2. Major Depressive Disorder
  3. Bipolar Disorders
  4. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)
  5. Feeding/Eating Disorders
  6. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  7. Tic Disorders/Tourette Syndrome (TS)

OTHER DISORDERS THAT CO-EXIST WITH OCD TEND TO SHARE SIMILARITIES, THESE DISORDERS INCLUDE:

  1. Body Dysmorphic Disorder
  2. Hoarding Disorder
  3. Trichotillomania (Hair-Pulling) Disorder
  4. Excoriation (Skin-Picking) Disorder
  5. Other Specified Obsessive-Compulsive Related Disorders like:
    • body-focused repetitive behavior disorder such as:
      • Nail-biting
      • Lip biting
      • Cheek chewing
      • Obsessive Jealousy (in this case, the person that suffers from OCD will feel jealous even when there is no reason or evidence for them to be jealous).

Anxiety 1 – General Information

Anxiety 2 – Intrusive Thoughts

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