What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

November 02, 2008

Recent surveys show that even young children of ages four exhibit some characteristics of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is an anxiety disorder with recurrent unwanted obsessions or thoughts as its main trait. These obsessions may also be accompanied by repetitive behaviours or compulsions contributing to the name Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Those affected by OCD may be extremely particular about hand washing, cleaning, counting and the like. They are forced to engage themselves in activities like these (rituals) in order to avoid their obsessive thoughts. These thoughts are chronic, time-consuming and severe. They are involuntary and senseless.

For example, the thought of dirty hands make them wash hands repeatedly for hours until their hands are raw and chapped. Doubt always haunts them and an urge to check on things again and again live with them. They try to hide these thoughts and feelings in fear of social ostracism and rebuke.

OCD is a common disorder affecting millions of people while at least 1 among 200 children are doubted to have OCD. OCD in children, if left untreated, can interfere with its growth and development and may make his life difficult. In children fear of contamination and aggressive and catastrophic fears dominate their lifestyle. Many suffer from multiple compulsive behaviours which disrupt their innocent childhood.

The exact cause for OCD is uncertain. It is believed that your compulsions owe their origin to the biological changes in your body or the behavior habits acquired over the time. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that helps to carry messages from one nerve cell to another. Serotonin causes repeated behaviors in people and it is seen lacking in people with OCD.

Some experts point out that having parents or other family members with OCD increases your risk of developing OCD though any genes related to OCD has not been traced so far. Stress may also play a vital role in causing OCD as emotional distress is a part of its obsessive compulsions. Panic attacks, phobias, anxiety, ADHD, dyslexia or depression may further destroy the normal and quality life of people with OCD.

In little children an early diagnosis is called for to detect OCD and to deter its development. Behaviour therapy and medicines like clomipramine are recommeded treatments for OCD. Allopathic drugs may have minor side effects like nausea and drowsiness.

Additional Reading

Do You Have Recurring Thoughts?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - An Overview

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