What is obsessive compulsive disorder?
OCD defined: From answers.com - obsessive-compulsive disorder (psychology) A type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, persistent, unwanted, and unpleasant thoughts (obsessions) or repetitive, purposeful, ritualistic behaviors that the person feels driven to perform (compulsions). Abbreviated OCD.
About OCD: by Phillip W. Long, M.D. - Either obsessions or compulsions: Obsessions as defined by: Recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress the thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about real-life problems the person attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, impulses, or images, or to neutralize them with some other thought or action the person recognizes that the obsessional thoughts, impulses, or images are a product of his or her own mind (not imposed from without as in thought insertion)
Compulsions as defined by (1) and (2):
The obsessions or compulsions cause marked distress, are time consuming (take more than 1 hour a day), or significantly interfere with the person's normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or usual social activities or relationships. If another Axis I disorder is present, the content of the obsessions or compulsions is not restricted to it (e.g., preoccupation with food in the presence of an Eating Disorder; hair pulling in the presence of Trichotillomania; concern with appearance in the presence of Body Dysmorphic Disorder; preoccupation with drugs in the presence of a Substance Use Disorder; preoccupation with having a serious illness in the presence of Hypochondriasis; preoccupation with sexual urges or fantasies in the presence of a Paraphilia; or guilty ruminations in the presence of Major Depressive Disorder). The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.
Specify if: With Poor Insight: if, for most of the time during the current episode the person does not recognize that the obsessions and compulsions are excessive or unreasonable.
Dr. Tolin demonstrates how to stop compulsions on The OCD Project.
How do you treat OCD?
How do you treat OCD? Medications work for some, exposure with response/ritual prevention (ERP) works for most, and the combination of these two can act as a one-two punch that works for the others.
I would suggest that the most success in the fight against this chemical imbalance in the brain has come from a combination of therapy and ERP. This way, once the sufferer talks about the thoughts that are essentially driving them nuts, they start to realize that they are a bit off base and that their mind has come a bit off track. The exposures eventually help to retrain the brain and start to right the many years of wrongs, in most cases.
There has also been great success in the fight against this disorder via desensitization—mostly with contamination based OCD, or the "C" that stands for cleaning. An example of desensitization would be if someone was afraid of turning off faucets after their done washing their hands, they might find that turning the faucet off with just their pinky would help. Then they could turn the faucet off with their pinky and ring finger a week later, after being successful with just the pinky why not? Then they would gradually expose themselves to the fear and then would overcome it as they realize that nothing bad is happening. And then they would eventually be able to turn the handle of the faucet of like most people normally do.
OCD and phobias are forms of anxiety that can lead to depression