OCD: Everything You Need to Know

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Recent studies show that obsessive-compulsive disorder has been encountered in 1 person in every 200 young adults and teens.

OCD brings about unreasonable fears and thoughts (obsessions) that can cause repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These compulsions or obsessions can cause severe discomfort and interfere with daily activities. At the onset stages of this disorder, you might attempt to stop or ignore the fixations.

But they just keep coming back, increasing your anxiety and distress.

Eventually, you’re driven to carry out compulsive acts in a bid to relieve the stress. But despite all effort to get rid of or ignore the bothersome urges/ thoughts, they keep recurring. Hence, the behavior becomes ritualistic- OCD’s vicious cycle.


What Causes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

According to mental health experts, there is still no known cause for OCD. Nonetheless, research and science point to a few risk factors. They are:

Genetics- If you have first-degree relatives such as siblings or parents who’ve suffered from OCD as young adults, you’re at a higher risk of developing this condition.

Brain Structure- Scientists are studying the frontal cortex of non-OCD and OCD test subjects to narrow down the differences.

Environment- Research indicates that experiencing emotional, physical, or mental abuse at a tender age is also a risk factor for developing obsessive-compulsive disorder. Also, there are certain types of infection like the streptococcal infection that can cause OCD in adolescents/ teens.

HOW OCD ARE YOU?

OCD usually centers on various themes. For example, the fear of germs or losing things. You might find yourself counting or washing hands excessively.

You can quickly determine your obsessive-compulsive disorder by looking at the symptoms that come in your theme.

Here are common symptoms of OCD according to the National Institutes of Mental Health:

  1. The need for things to appear perfectly symmetrical.
  2. Cleaning either the surrounding or yourself excessively.
  3. Having disturbing intrusive thoughts.
  4. Engaging in uncontrollable compulsive behaviors.
  5. Being unable to control your behaviors and thoughts despite knowing they’re irrational.

Many mental health specialists categorize different cases of OCD depending on symptoms. To know how OCD you are, you can take a screening test. The questions emanate from obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms and require yes/ no answers.

Your responses determine how high up you’re on the OCD scale.


Nonetheless, the six major categories of OCD are:
• Hoarding

• Checking

• Contamination

• Mental contamination

• Ruminations

• Intrusive thoughts

Treating OCD in Teens and Young Adults

There several methods of treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mind you, mental health expert treat, and not cure the disease. Treatment allows your symptoms to subside, moving you towards wellness.

There’s no straightforward cure for OCD.

Here’re the treatment options that exist for this anxiety disorder:

I. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

It’s the old standard’ of OCD therapies. CBT utilizes two evidence-based techniques- CT (Cognitive Therapy) and ERP (Exposure Response Prevention therapy). Combining medication with CBT is the most ideal way to treat OCD.

II. Medication

Antidepressants are the first line of defense for teens/ young adults with OCD. Mental health practitioners use medicines such as Fluoxetine (Prozac), clomipramine (Anafranil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), etc. Most of these drugs are Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).

III. Habit Reversal Training

It’s a therapy that consists of the introduction of competing responses, awareness training, positive reinforcement, social support, and relaxation techniques. The idea is that when you’re more aware of when compulsive behaviors kick in, you’re likely to intervene and change. For habit reversal training takes diligent practice, patience, as well as time.

IV. Experimental Treatments

These are last resort experimental treatments for patients who don’t respond well to therapies and/ or medicine. They include emerging procedures haven’t been tested sufficiently. Examples are:

• Clinical trials- You can research tests to examine unproven treatments.

• Deep brain stimulation- A procedure that surgically implants electrodes in your brain.

• Electro-conclusive therapy- mental health experts electrically shock your brain using electrodes attached to your head. This shock initiates a brain seizure that leads to the release of hormones like serotine. The hormones contribute to your wellbeing and happiness.

The Take-Away

OCD has no cure, but it’s absolutely treatable. If you suspect that you’ve obsessive-compulsive disorder, first visit a doctor for confirmation. He/ she will also recommend the best treatment for you.

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