OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is a mental illness that affects millions of people all around the globe. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with the condition, you will likely have many questions about how it presents and what the various treatment options are. Here are five important facts that you need to know.
OCD is Extremely Common
Scientists estimate that obsessive-compulsive disorder affects approximately one in every 40 adults. Plus, it affects one in every 100 children in the USA. What is more surprising than those statistics is the fact that it affects people from all backgrounds equally. There are equivalent amounts of sufferers in terms of men and women, ethnicity, language, and socio-economic backgrounds. OCD does not discriminate!
Characterized By Obsessive Thoughts and Routine Behaviors
Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder have trouble filtering out negative thoughts. More often than not, these negative thoughts and obsessions are irrational in nature. In addition, despite the individual being aware of this, they simply cannot rationalize them as a regular person might.
Usually, the thoughts and obsessions will push the individual to perform various ritualized behaviors that they feel will put the thoughts to rest. For example, someone with OCD might have a fear of germs and will wash their hands every 10 minutes in an effort to get rid of them. Or, they will obsessively clean every corner of their house for hours and hours on end.
OCD Sufferers’ Brains Work Differently
Thanks to advanced technology in the form of neuro-imaging, scientists have been able to confirm that people with OCD have brains that work differently compared to those who have not been diagnosed with the disorder. There seems to be an error of communication in specific regions of the brain. Scientists have also noted that many affected individuals also have an imbalance when it comes to their neurotransmitter systems. This means that the chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, are lacking.
OCD is Often Treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Behavioral therapy helps individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder — and many other types of mental illness such as depression and anxiety — control their negative thoughts and impulses. It also assists them in learning how to replace these thoughts and impulses with healthier, more positive alternatives. Numerous treatment centers embrace cognitive behavioral therapy, including igniteteentreatment.com.
The Cause is Unknown
Despite being able to take note of various cognitive differences in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder, scientists have yet to be able to pinpoint the disorder’s cause. Most believe that it is brought about by a variety of genetic, environmental, cognitive, neurobiological, and behavioral factors. There definitely seems to be a genetic link to OCD, as around one in four sufferers also has a family member with the same diagnosis.
The good news is that the days of suffering in silence are long gone. Those with OCD can now feel empowered to seek out the help that they need. They can start to learn how to manage the disorder in a positive and consistent manner.