Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment

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One of the most common types of mental health disorders is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It is characterized by obsessions (repeated unwanted sensations or recurring thoughts) and compulsion (the urge to keep on repeating something over and over). Sometimes an individual can have both obsessions and compulsions at the same time. OCD treatment is aimed at helping the patient gain control of the obsessions and compulsions and leads a normal life.

We all have thoughts and habits that sometimes repeat themselves but people with OCD have actions or thoughts that do the following:

  • Are not enjoyable
  • Take up more time of their day
  • Cannot be controlled
  • Interfere with their social and work life as well as other aspects of their lives

An example of obsessive thought is thinking certain colors are good and others are bad. A person with compulsive behavior would wash or clean something specific over and over or for a number of times for fear that if he/she doesn’t do so, it would not be clean. People with OCD usually feel powerless to stop.

Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Although a person with OCD can have both obsessions and compulsions, it is possible for someone to have obsessions symptoms only or compulsion symptoms only. It may take a while before someone realizes and accepts that their obsessions and compulsiveness are unreasonable or excessive. 

Obsession Symptoms

OCD obsessions present as unwanted, persistent, and repeated urges, thoughts or images that can cause anxiety or distress. These are typically intrusive and to try and get rid of them, a person with OCD finds him/herself performing rituals or compulsive behavior. 

Common themes of obsessions include:

  • Doubting
  • Being afraid of dirt or contamination
  • Requiring things to be symmetrical or orderly
  • Unwanted repeated thoughts
  • Horrific thoughts

Symptoms of obsessions include the following:

  • Doubting whether you’ve turned off the stove or locked the door
  • Stressed when things are not arranged in a certain way
  • Fear of contamination from things that have been touched by others
  • Unwanted negative images
  • Thoughts about acting inappropriately 
  • Avoidance of situations that are likely to trigger obsessions such as shaking hands

Compulsion Symptoms

People with OCD compulsion exhibit behaviors that they feel forced to perform. These are usually mental acts or repetitive behaviors that are meant to prevent something bad from happening or to minimize anxiety related to obsessions. However, engaging in compulsions only brings temporary relief from anxiety.

Themes of compulsions include:

  • Counting
  • Checking
  • Cleaning
  • Orderliness
  • Having a strict routine

Symptoms of compulsion include the following:

  • Excessive hand washing until the skin sometimes becomes raw
  • Checking locks repeatedly to make sure they are locked
  • Following certain patterns
  • Repeating certain words or phrases silently

What causes OCD to develop?

The exact causes of OCD are not yet fully understood but the main theories include:

  • Genetics. OCD is thought to have a genetic component but the specific genes are yet to be understood.
  • Biology. OCD may result from changes in the brain functions or the body’s natural chemistry.
  • Environment. Being around people with OCD such as family members or friends can cause obsessive fears and compulsive behaviors to be picked up gradually and learned.
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Forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

There are various forms of OCD and they fall into four general categories:

  • Checking, such as alarm systems, locks, light switches or ovens or thinking you have a mental condition such as schizophrenia or pregnancy.
  • Contamination, having a compulsion to clean for fear that things might be dirty. Mental contamination can make someone feel like they are being treated like dirt.
  • Ruminations and intrusive thoughts, obsessing over a specific thought. Some of these thoughts might be disturbing or violent.
  • Ordering and symmetry, the need to have things lined up in a specific manner.

How is OCD treated?

There is no cure for OCD but there are various forms of treatment that can help to bring the symptoms under control so that you can live your life normally. The treatments include:

  • Medication. Certain psychiatric drugs are used to help sufferers of OCD control their obsessions and compulsions. These medications usually take about 2-4 months before they start working.
  • Psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that has proven to be effective in managing OCD. It helps change the thinking patterns and in doing so the patient learns to lessen and then stop his/her OCD thoughts or actions.

Can OCD go away naturally?

The traits of OCD never truly go away. They tend to go away for some time and return. It is a mental health disorder that requires ongoing treatment.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder FAQs

How can OCD be cured completely?

Some individuals with OCD can be completely cured after treatment, while others get significant relief from their symptoms. Treatment would have to involve both medication and lifestyle changes.

Which treatment is most effective for obsessive compulsive disorder?

Psychotherapy in the form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective in treating people with OCD.

How can I stop my OCD thoughts?

Pausing the thought when it comes up rather than immediately responding to it helps in stopping OCD thoughts.

How long does OCD treatment last?

It can take an average of six to twelve months to successfully complete OCD treatment.

Can you recover from OCD?

Although there is no cure for OCD, many individuals are able to attain substantial control over their symptoms with proper treatment.

How successful is a treatment for OCD?

OCD treatment can be very effective with some therapies reporting more than 80% in success rates for those who receive it.

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Obsessive compulsive disorder is a chronic disorder that can greatly affect your day-to-day life. It is a condition that requires ongoing treatment and at Euromed Clinic Dubai, we have the best psychiatrists who will walk through the journey with you. You can start by scheduling an appointment with one of our experts by filling out the online form or calling us.

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    Dr. Bahjat Balbous is a DHA-licensed psychiatrist having more than 25 years of experience. He uses the latest Neurofeedback therapy in treating ADHD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and other related disorders.

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