What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and How To Overcome It

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder & How To Overcome It

3. Childhood trauma

According to NIMH, obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms may also be a result of childhood trauma. One 2002 study indicates that childhood trauma may play a crucial role in the development of OCD and trichotillomania. 

Another 2008 study analyzed the connection between OCD symptoms, personality traits and childhood trauma. It revealed that “There was a small but significant association between obsessive-compulsive symptoms and childhood trauma, specifically emotional abuse and physical neglect.” Around 13-30% of the subjects in study had experienced trauma and emotional neglect during their childhood. The study also discovered an “independent association” between ‘‘probable obsessive-compulsive disorder’’ and physical and emotional abuse.

Want to start healing? Read How To Heal From Childhood Trauma When Its Hampering Your Mental Health

4. Autoimmune factors

NIMH also reported that children may experience OCD symptoms due to a streptococcal infection. This is known as PANDAS or Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.

5. Stressful life events

You are also likely to develop OCD symptoms due to stressful or traumatic life events as well. Although stressful life events (SLEs) may not directly result in OCD symptoms, such events can seriously trigger obsessive compulsive disorder, especially if you are vulnerable on a genetic level. Moreover, your symptoms may even get more severe if you generally experience more stress and anxiety than usual.

According to a 2012 study, which examined 329 patients, at least one stressful life event “preceded the onset of OCD in 200 patients (60.8%), and this was significantly associated with female gender, abrupt onset of the disorder and somatic obsessions.” Moreover, the study identified 3 specific SLEs that may be closely associated with OCD symptoms:

  • Hospitalization of a family member
  • Major personal physical illness
  • Loss of personally valuable object

6. Other mental health issues

Apart from the risk factors mentioned above, OCD may also be developed due to other disorders and mental health problems like depression, anxiety disorders, tic disorders, Tourette syndrome, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), substance abuse etc. One 2010 study discovered that obsessive compulsive disorder may develop “in the context of other neuropsychiatric disorders, most commonly other anxiety and mood disorders.

Is your OCD getting out of hand? Read How Sensitive Is Your OCD Radar? 

Diagnosis of OCD

According to the APA and DSM-5, the diagnostic criteria for obsessive compulsive disorder includes the following:

  • Presence of obsessions, compulsions, or both
  • It should be time-consuming, result in clinically significant distress or affect social, occupational or other crucial aspects of life
  • The symptoms should not be due to the physiological effects of a substance (alcohol/drug abuse) or medical condition
  • The symptoms and disturbances should be better explained by another mental disorder, like generalized anxiety disorder, excoriation, stereotypies etc

If a patient successfully meets the OCD criteria laid down by the DSM-5, then a doctor will perform blood tests and physical exam to determine if any other medical condition is causing these symptoms. A healthcare professional or a psychiatrist may also have an in-depth discussion with the affected person to understand their thoughts, habits and emotions.

Treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder 

Currently, there is no cure for OCD. However, there are some treatment options that can help a person to manage the symptoms and reduce its impact on their daily lives.

Here are some of the most helpful treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder:

1. Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is believed to be one of the most effective methods of OCD treatment. Cognitive therapy can help to change a person’s thought patterns and teach them how to better respond to obsessive thoughts and prevent compulsive behavior in a healthy manner.

One 2012 study revealed that “The psychological treatment of choice for OCD, in both adults and children and backed by numerous clinical trials, is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), particularly exposure with response prevention (EX/RP).” Moreover, research has also discovered that CBT “is superior to medications alone” with “a lower relapse rate than in medications.” It has been found that over 75% of patients with OCD respond positively to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). 

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