In Germany, psychiatrists regarded OCD as a disorder of intellect. The German word for “obsession” is Zwangsvorstellung and was translated as “obsession” in Great Britain and “compulsion” in the United States. The term “obsessive-compulsive disorder” became the compromise term. Over time, the way people view O. C. D. has changed. For example, in the seventeenth century people who suffer from obsessions and compulsions were thought to be religious fanatics or melancholic (Frankel, 2011).
It wasn’t until the European Renaissance that people first began relinquishing the belief that mental illnesses like OCD were caused by devil or other supernatural forces. Based on this reasoning, treatment involved banishing the “evil” from the “possessed” person through exorcism (steward, 2009). OCD can happen to anyone. You could be rich or poor/ black or white. It has happened to people such as Martin Luther (1483-1546) the most important leader of the protestant of reformation in Europe. John Bunyan (1628-1688) the writer and preacher that is famous for his writing Pilgrim’s Progress.
Dr. Samual Johnson (1709-1784) wrote the first dictionary in the English language. Many people often wonder what causes OCD. Experts don’t know what exactly caused OCD, but they suggest that it may be a problem in the way one part of the brain sends information to another. (Peterson, 2001). When your brain doesn’t have enough of serotonin (a brain chemical) it causes problems. Experts also believe that problem related to infections, such as: strip throat or scarlet fever can cause or make the disorder worse.
Brain scans of people with OCD have shown that they have different patterns of brain activity (Price, 2007). Some cases may even be genetic. OCD isn’t caused by family problems or attitudes, but genetics, or stressful events may trigger an episode of the disorder. The symptoms of OCD vary it can be mild to severe and even come and go. The most common symptom of OCD is Anxiety. For example, you feel a sense that something bad is going to happen if a task is left undone, such as check again and again to see whether the flat iron is on.
If you fail to check you feel tense or anxious. Obsession symptoms are unwanted thoughts, ideas, and impulses that you have again and again. For example, a fear to hurt yourself or a love one, need to do something perfectly or correctly and a fear of getting dirty or infected (Malik, 2008). Compulsion symptoms are behaviors that you repeat to try to control the obsession. For example: washing, checking, counting, repeating, hoarding and praying. The most common compulsion is washing and checking. Doctors check for OCD by asking about your symptoms and your health past.
A physical exam is given to the patient. Mental health assessments are given as well, it is an evaluation of your emotional functioning and your ability to think, reason, and remember. People with OCD live with the condition for years before being diagnosed (Wilkins, 2000). Some people go without treatment because they are embarrassed to talk about their symptoms (Ego). Conditions that co- exist with OCD is Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders (Depression and Bipolar Disorder), Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Eating Disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
There are three main questions that a doctor will ask to decide rather you have OCD or not “Do you have repeated thoughts that cause anxiety and that you cannot get rid of no matter how hard you try? , Do you wash your hands frequently or keep things extremely clean and neat? Do you excessively check things? (Weinstock, 2010). ” Also to be diagnosed, the obsessions or compulsions must be time-consuming to the point where it interferes with your daily life. The earlier it is detected the better because there are proper treatments that can improve OCD (Romito, 2007).
Treatment for OCD is good, about 50% of patients improve and about 10% recover completely (Abramowitz, 2009). Only 10% get worse in spite of therapy (Abramowitz, 2009). The four R’s you should keep in mind when trying to overcome OCD relabel, reattribute, refocus, and revalue (Segal, 2012). Relabel is Recognize that the intrusive obsessive thoughts and urges are the result of OCD. Reattribute is to Realize that the intensity and intrusiveness of the thought or urge is caused by OCD; remind you that OCD thoughts and urges are not meaningful, but are false messages from the brain.
Refocus is when you find ways to work around the OCD thoughts by focusing your attention on something else, at least for a few minutes. Revalue is the key to not take the OCD thought at face value. It is not significant in itself. There are Medication that a doctor can prescribe to you depending on the severity of your symptoms they are known as Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) “antidepressants” they include Prozac, Luvox & Zoloft (Sadock, 2007). It can take up to twelve weeks before the medicine to take effect after prescribed.
Consistency is important for both counseling and medicines. People who don’t take their medicines regularly or stop often have their symptoms return (relapse). With therapy, it is important to work with your doctor to find out when, or if, you should stop. Counseling is available as well; cognitive-behavioral therapy called exposure and response prevention is considered the most effective type of counseling for OCD. Your relationship with your therapist is very important. Finding someone who is right for you is critical to your success in overcoming OCD.
The therapist for exposure and response prevention counseling would require you to write down all of your obsessions, compulsions, and things you avoid. Doing this you will then rank each of them from highest to lowest. Throughout the sessions you will be exposed to your obsessions, compulsions, and things you avoid in order to help overcome the faulty beliefs (Lewin, 2011). There are home treatments that you can use to reduce overall stress. For example, taking deep breathes, soaking in a warm bath, listening to smooth music, exercise, yoga, etc.
In rare cases surgery can be done. Which uses surgically implanted electrodes in the brain, and magnetic stimulation of parts of the brain are done for severe OCD. Deep brain- stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation are possible surgical options that do not require destruction of brain tissue. In one study, 30% of participants benefited significantly from this procedure (Roth, 2010). The procedure only can be performed in a hospital with specialist qualifications. This is done only when you aren’t responding to any other treatment or procedure (Williams, 2010).
OCD is usually confused with two things Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) and an addiction. OCD is ego dystonic, meaning that the disorder is incompatible with the sufferer’s self- concept. While OCPD is ego syntonic, it is the behaviors, values, feelings, which are in harmony with or acceptable to the needs and goals of the ego, or consistent with one’s ideal self-image (Morse, 1998). Addiction can be explained as the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. OCD is different from behaviors such gambling and overeating ddiction. People with these disorders typically experience at least some pleasure from their activity. OCD sufferers do not actively want to perform their compulsive tasks and experience no pleasure from doing so (Marlatt, 2008). Therefore, OCD is a long- term condition that can be improved over years of medication and/or therapy. In the United States, about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children have OCD. According to the World Health Organization, OCD is one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability, worldwide, for individuals between 15 and 44 years of age (Smith, 2012).
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