Friday, July 1, 2011

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be very debilitating for the sufferer.  It is characterized by anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and obsessiveness over a certain theme eg cleaniness and safety.  In addition, there is an element of compulsion to repeatedly respond to the underlying fear despite the conscious awareness of it being irrational.   In essence, it stems from severe anxiety. 

A typical example is someone with a fear of getting sick from contracting germs on the hands.  Due to this underlying fear, one will repeatedly wash one's hands in order to alleviate one's fear.  It may take many repeated hand washings before one stops and feels safe.  Despite being aware of it being unhelpful and irrational, one is compelled to continue with the repetitive behaviour of hand washing in order to alleviate the anxiety.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is managed through medications as well as counselling base on CBT and ACT strategies.  If medications like serotonin reuptake inhibitors are required for OCD, then a higher dose is usually required.  Please talk to your Family Doctor about this.

(Please note that it is not uncommon for a anxious person to have some OCD traits, but this does not necessarily mean that they have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  In actual fact, OCD traits can be very helpful.  Would you prefer to see an Accountant with some OCD traits or someone who is too easy going and don't double check his/her work?

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