Obsessive compulsive disorder
What are compulsions and obsessive-compulsive disorder?
The obsessive-compulsive disorder is divided into obsessional thoughts and compulsive acts. The obsessions differ from normal thoughts in the way they are experienced and thought by the person concerned. The thoughts during OCD are accompanied by the constant fear of harming other people or even getting into an embarrassing situation.
They can not be deliberately turned off or thought out, so that they resemble again and again, ending in despair. The obsessions are further subdivided into obsessions, compulsions and compulsions. In the ideas and pondering, the person in question experiences in his thoughts again and again a negative situation, eg. B. that something could happen to the spouse, or that he might have misunderstood something.
The coercive impulses drive him to perform certain actions, even if they can have a negative impact on the person or others. The obsessive-compulsive disorder is perceived as nonsensical, but any attempt to defend against it triggers even more anxiety and tension.
In the case of OCD the affected person can not defend himself against the compulsive acts. These actions are behaviors that need to be repeated so often that they interfere with everyday life. An example of the behavior during an OCD is the constant checking that the stove has been switched off. In this case, the person concerned is subject to the compulsion to look for it again and again and thus does not have to do other things.
An obsessive-compulsive disorder can occur in different forms and contexts. Several factors play a role in OCD. On the one hand the obsessive-compulsive disorder can be caused by an organic malfunction and on the other hand by mental disorders.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is often associated with other illnesses. For example, in connection with multiple sclerosis or epilepsy, but also together with depressive disorders, schizophrenia and alcohol abuse, the obsessive-compulsive disorder may occur. One speaks of an OCD only if it is particularly pronounced and no other mental illness.
From a medical perspective, the cause of OCD is that certain regions of the brain are damaged. These may be the basal ganglia, the limbic system or the frontal brain. If an obsessive-compulsive disorder already exists in the family, this biological factor is often not the cause.
- constant hand washing (cleanliness compulsion) after touching objects or persons
- Control constraints, such as whether the stove is off or whether the door has really closed
- Count compulsion - the person concerned constantly has to count something in his environment. For example, the plates on the sidewalk or steps of a staircase
- Ordnungszwang - everything must be in the apartment in its place, nothing may be dirty or otherwise arranged
- Contact Compulsion - Patients must constantly touch a certain object or the opposite, that patients can not touch a certain object at all
- verbal and acoustic constraints - For example, patients must always sing or whistle the same tune or repeat certain expressions
Symptoms, complaints & signs
An obsessive-compulsive disorder manifests itself in different ways as there are various forms of this disease. Washing is compulsory, for example, where people have to wash their hands over and over again, because even with harmless use of a doorknob, contamination with dangerous bacteria is suspected.
Control is also very common. For example, sufferers will always be able to see whether a stove is really switched off, even if they have done it several times before. Counting can become just as compelling as the habit of going the same way over and over again or performing rituals. A wide field are also the obsessive thoughts, which must be played through again and again in the mind.
Common to all constraints is that the person concerned often recognizes the folly of actions and thoughts, but can not do anything about it. Often the fight against coercion is linked to the idea that something bad can happen if the coercion is not carried out correctly.
Often the compulsions of those affected are accompanied by symptoms of anxiety and depressive mood, because the coercion triggers shame and helplessness and often drives the patient into social isolation. Compulsive illnesses spend a lot of time each day on compulsive acts and thoughts.
Diagnosis & History
The obsessive-compulsive disorder can be diagnosed if the patient lives for at least two weeks with the obsessive thoughts or compulsive acts and describes this condition as an experience of suffering and experience a reduced quality of life through this situation, that is, the obsessive-compulsive disorder significantly affects his everyday life.
Another aspect of obsessive-compulsive disorder is that the person recognizes obsessions as his own and can not resist them. The idea of the execution of the thought or the ideas or impulses are coupled with unpleasant feelings. In an obsessive-compulsive disorder, it can also cause physical damage, eg. B. when washing hands frequently eczema form. If the obsessive-compulsive disorder is severe, suicidal thoughts are also possible.
Complications associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder can be very diverse. Among other things, the extent of possible complications depends on whether the obsessive-compulsive disorder also affects other people or even shows self-injurious elements. Therapy reduces the risk of complications.
Forced obsessive-compulsive disorders are often a reason for social isolation, since sufferers are sometimes unable to work or socially very limited. Combined with the high correlation of depressive moods, depression, and other personality disorders associated with OCD, the risk of suicidal thoughts and action increases.
Furthermore, just the washing compulsion leads to skin damage (usually to eczema), which can lead to other health problems. Compulsive neuroses always carry the risk that the person concerned neglects other areas of life in favor of his disorder (especially in the urge to constantly control certain things) and thus gets into negative situations. This is also the case when it comes to obsessive thoughts, which mainly affect the immediate environment.
Especially those thoughts that exist in violent fantasies or inappropriate sexual fantasies, burden the relationship between the person concerned and his environment immensely. While there is no appreciable risk that these thoughts will be implemented purely on the basis of OCD, numerous other personality disorders can lead to loss of impulse control.
When should you go to the doctor?
Not every everyday ritual belongs to an obsessive-compulsive disorder that needs to be treated medically or psychotherapeutically. However, sufferers should consult a doctor or therapist if their daily lives are subject to unpleasant obsessive compulsions or obsessions and the constraints persist for at least two weeks. On the other hand, everyday rituals that are positive and perceived as pleasurable are not clinical constraints.
Basically, it is recommended that people take care of a diagnostic work-up when they discover and suffer from the symptoms of OCD. A diagnosis can be made by a doctor, psychologist, psychotherapist or alternative practitioner. In particular, psychologists, psychotherapists and specialists in psychiatry and psychotherapy are trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. For this reason, it is useful if those affected preferentially turn to these professions. Even the family doctor can be a first contact and issue a transfer if necessary.
The subjective suffering is very individual in an obsessive-compulsive disorder. A strong subjective burden is also a reason to seek medical or psychological help. In addition, professional advice may be required if the compulsive behaviors lead to physical or other problems - for example, skin problems due to washing compulsion.
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Treatment & Therapy
Early treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder is recommended. First, the family doctor or a neurologist should be visited, because damage to the brain regions can be treated with drugs that inhibit the absorption of serotonin. These are usually antidepressants or neuroleptics.
It also helps sufferers, as well as relatives, to better manage OCD when seeking therapeutic help. A congenital therapy in which the person concerned works towards the goal of changing his thought patterns is very promising.
In this context, the sufferer learns to deal with stressful situations, a suitable strategy for coping with everyday life and, among other things, new behavioral patterns in interpersonal matters.
An obsessive-compulsive disorder usually comes unexpectedly. However, if the patient informs himself intensively about the obsessive-compulsive disorder with the relatives, a new disease is optimally prevented, but the obsessive-compulsive disorder should be accepted.
If the obsessive-compulsive disorder has been treated successfully and is no longer open to others, it is up to the person concerned to discover the first signs independently and to seek out a suitable (psycho) therapist immediately upon suspicion in order to prevent a lengthy course of therapy. Furthermore, possible triggers, such as permanent, extreme stressful situations (including those at work) should be avoided, and instead one's own behavior and thoughts should be controlled regularly.
Also, out of the affect, no casual, harmless habits of temporary reassurance should be developed, as these may later develop into an uncontrollable compulsion. However, if the coercion is not cured and there is no prospect of healing, it is essential for the person concerned to accept his compulsion and, if possible, to avoid places or other places where the coercion is uncontrollable.
Not only with verbal constraints, but also with thought or behavioral constraints, it is advantageous to educate friends and acquaintances about their own behavior to prevent unpleasant situations or misunderstandings. Furthermore, the compulsion should not be violently ignored - even in public - as this can cause not only a loss of control but also a strong malaise of the person concerned.
You can do that yourself
First, it is important that your own OCD is understood fundamentally. This can make the situation easier for the person concerned. The person concerned must be aware of how his disorder is perceived exactly and how it affects him and his life.
Besides, it can be a great relief to know that he is not alone with his experiences. Affected people must accept stress and learn to accept it not as a disruptive factor but as part of life. They should adopt other strategies to deal with stress. For example, enough sleep, adequate and good food, meditation, and enough exercise can result in a reduction in symptoms. Especially running can bring about a significant improvement. Applying relaxation techniques (eg: deep breathing or meditative mindfulness exercises) is also helpful.
The next step would be the acceptance and confrontation of his fears. To formulate negative positive thoughts about obsessive-compulsive disorder has been shown to be an effective way of reducing the disorder and can be used without therapeutic intervention. Often it is useful to deal with his fears in an analytical and logical way and to consider strategies for the arrival of the worst-case scenario. All of these techniques are easy to incorporate into everyday life and leisure.