OCD is characteristed by the symptoms of obsessions with or without the presence of compulsions. This disorder may present with widely varying patterns from one sufferer to another.
OCD can be diagnosed when the obsessions or the compulsions consume excessive amounts of time in an individual’s life, causes significant distress and interference with one’s daily functioning at home, school or work, as well as a disruption in social activities and relationships.
The commonest features that are typically associated with OCD may include signs such as repetitive counting, praying, or pursuing tasks in a very specific way, hair-pulling, Self harm acts such as cutting, scratching, burning, hand-washing and body-cleaning repeatedly due to fear of contamination, or other, continuous health preoccupations.
Obsessions can include: Irrational thoughts of harming others, doubting one’s religious or sexual orientation, as well as fears of being a paedophile or a murderer, thought ruminations against one’s control, hoarding, and being excessively preoccupied with symmetry and precision.
The diagnoses of OCD is based on the fact that something which is rationally correct to do can become irrational and unhealthy just through the number of times it is ritually repeated daily. This repetition eventually becomes exasperating.Any particular patient is likely to not show all the above features at one go. Instead, patients may exhibit one or two particular features, and then some time later; these feature subdue and other feature become evident.
Some OCD patients can have their symptoms accentuated by stressful events which after their resolution will lead to a diminution of the features of OCD. Other psychological disorders, such as depression, phobias and anxiety may also co-exist with OCD.
Cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotropic medications are the first-line treatments for OCD. Other forms of psychotherapy, such as psycho-dynamics and psycho-analysis may help in micro-managing some aspects of this disorder. Some symptoms may still persist; even following adequate treatment courses.
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