Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of psychological disorder in which irrational thoughts (compulsions) along with repetitive behaviors or rituals (compulsions) tends to occur. OCD is considered to be an anxiety disorder and the individual’s ability to function normally at the home, school, workplace or in social settings is seriously affected (Mayo, 2008). About 2. 2 million people in the US are affected with the disorder. Studies have shown that up to 2 % of the population is affected with the disorder (Jefferson, 2007).
OCD usually occurs in young adults, teenagers, adolescents and middle-aged (frequently up to the age of 30 years). The disorder can be related to another mental disorder such as eating disorder, anxiety disorder, etc. Tics may be seen in about one-fifth of the people suffering from OCD (Ballas, 2008). In children the disorder begins around the age of 10 to 12 years (Mayo, 2008). Description of disorder In most cases of OCD, the ideas seem to be unrealistic, intrusive, weird and horrible, and the urges that occur are repetitive and unwanted.
In certain cases, OCD may result in the individual having certain risks. Usually, the symptoms would build around a particular theme. The individual is often driven to performing the particular actions (Mayo, 2008). The individual is constantly preoccupied with the obsessions and the compulsions which tend to interfere with normal functioning (Ballas, 2008). Etiology (cause) of the disorder-if known The actual cause for the development of OCD has not been understood clearly. Frequently, OCD would occur in families. However, the exact genetic cause needs to be identified.
During pregnancy and stressful events in life, the risk of developing the condition increases. Studies have shown that in individuals suffering from OCD, changes in the neurochemical levels in the brain is observed. People suffering from OCD have lower levels of serotonin. When people suffering from OCD are given medications, the condition tends to improve. Several factors in the environment (such as stressful life events) would also play an important part in the development and progression of the disorder (Mayo, 2008).
In some individuals the condition may be linked to the condition Tourette syndrome. OCD is not related to another medical illness or drug abuse (Ballas, 2008). Symptoms of the disorder The DSM-IV-TR guidelines have listed out the symptoms and the guidelines for the diagnosis of OCD. OCD is characterized by the development of obsessions and compulsives, which usually center on a particular theme and causing significant disturbance in the ability to function normally. The compulsions are often the result of the obsessions.
The obsessions and compulsions usually occur in excess of reasonable behavior and tend to disturb normal functioning. Both the obsessions and compulsions take up the individuals time (more than one hour a day), and also eat up into the social relationships. The disorder is not the effect of another mental disorder, drug abuse or a medical condition. During the development of the disorder, the individual would not be able to understand that the symptoms are clearly excessive and is affecting normal relationships and functioning (Behave Net, 2009).