Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is described by disturbing obsessions and intense compulsions. In OCD patients, there have been obsessions–persistently intrusive and undesirable thoughts, emotions or images, and compulsions–repetitive, ritualized behaviours which they often feel obliged to perform, in an attempt to address or alleviate obsessional distress.

What does OCD look like in adults?

Each person has its own unique symptoms, but there are some common patterns. To manage the disorder and lead a healthy life, the therapy is essential but only after a thorough diagnosis. One may begin by understanding what OCD might look like in various settings— especially at home and at work.

Symptoms of OCD might look like:

  • Withdrawal from society, friends and the family because of obsessions with infectivity, or our of fear
  • Having no intimate relationship with a partner because of fear of germs, or intrusive violent thoughts
  • Obsessively involved in checking stoves, locks, or light switches before going out
  • Inhabit of stacking household things like old newspapers, utensils
  • Unable to deal with any change in daily routine
  • Sudden anxiety attack due to worrying or fear or because of an obsession
  • Don’t feel comfortable in shaking hands, attending work gathering due to fears of germs and infection
  • Constantly worrying that colleagues will find out about the symptoms
  • Afraid of socializing because of worrying on being judged or mistreated.
  • Obsessive about being cleaned, unnecessary spending time only on washing hands.
  • Socially inappropriate ways of interaction with co-workers like touching them abruptly
  • Keeps on checking finished work, missing deadlines, incomplete work
  • Always busy in arranging desk or workspace, bringing everything on the table in order again and again

OCD Treatment

People with OCD are preoccupied with the obsessional thoughts and compulsions which causes a lot of distress in them. Hence it is very important that the right kind of help is taken to treat it. Medicines and therapies (Exposure and response prevention ERP) are effective treatment options for this illness. If you feel that you experience such symptoms it is must visit a mental health professional for help.

Case Study on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Like you are possessed.

In order to recover, we must first believe that we can.

Mrs Seema is a 44-year-old government employee from Punjab who was brought by her husband to an outpatient clinic. Although she had been trying to get her to the hospital for many months due to the difficulties she was experiencing in managing her daily routine. Seema had stopped going to work, would spend a lot of time collecting newspapers, boxes, waste materials. She would repeatedly count the washed clothes and utensils because she felt if she would not count these, then something bad would happen. To ease her anxiety she would continue to be involved in the compulsive behaviour. If she was stopped from doing this ritualistic behaviour then should become irritable and aggressive.

She has two school-going children who demanded attention and time from their mother but because of illness she was unable to provide this; consequently, her relationship with them suffered.

Based on the clinical assessment and history provided by the family, Seema was advised that her diagnosis was that of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It took some time for her to accept that her symptoms and experiences were the outcomes of a mental health condition. Both the family and patient were educated about OCD is and how it is resulting in difficulties in her ability to manage her day to day responsibilities towards work and her family. Psychological Therapy – Exposure and response prevention was initiated with her in an outpatient clinic where she would come once in a week. Gradually, two sessions in the week started where Seema would come with her family for therapy. These therapy sessions were further carried out at her home where a therapist from the hospital would go on home visits. She is maintaining well for 2 years now. The family has observed changes in her behaviour, she has resumed going to work, is helping her children in studies, and spending quality time with them.

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