Are you obsessed with cleaning products? Does your closet have to be meticulously organized before you begin or end the day? Do you insist that glassware be arranged in the kitchen cupboards or pantry specifically by shape, height, size? If yes, then you may suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
THE TOP 10 SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE OCD
OCD is a mental disorder that affects a small number of Americans – only about one percent – but it garners a lot of attention because it can be noticeable.
You may recognize these prominent OCD behaviors:
- Using hand sanitizer or compulsive handwashing is so ubiquitous in OCD that it has become a popular descriptive for someone dealing with the symptoms of OCD
- Sometimes people dealing with OCD may also have a propensity to clean compulsively. Just like handwashing, house cleaning is a go-to way of lessening feelings of impurity or germaphobia.
- Checking behaviors — returning multiple times to make sure you turned off the oven or the back door is locked — are the top compulsions related to OCD, affecting about 30 percent of those with the disorder.
- OCD may be characterized by performing tasks based on a number pattern, or the person counting to themselves while performing everyday tasks like cleaning.
- Someone with OCD takes organizing to the precipice of perfectionism. This fastidiousness is powered by obsessions about symmetry and order.
- Intense fears of violent encounters and trying to avoid them. The more you think about fear and avoidance, the more these thoughts appear in your head.
- As with violent thoughts, someone with OCD may have recurring unwanted thoughts about inappropriate or taboo sexual behavior.
- People with OCD fanatically dissect relationships with friends, family members, coworkers, and romantic partners.
- People with OCD try to soothe their anxiety by asking for the opinion of friends and family, as asking to replay the event.
WHAT CAUSES OCD?
While we still do not know the exact cause of OCD, research suggests differences in the brain and genes of those affected play a role.
- Is it a brain disorder?
Research suggests that OCD involves problems in communication between the front part of the brain and deeper structures of the brain. These brain structures use a neurotransmitter called serotonin. It is a chemical messenger acting on blood vessels and pain control pathways in the brain. In some people, the brain circuits involved in OCD become more normal with either medication that affects serotonin levels (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or cognitive behavior therapy.
- Is OCD behavior inherited?
Research proves that OCD is family-based, and that genes have a role in the growth of the disorder. Genes look to be only somewhat responsible for launching the disorder, though. No one is sure of other factors that could be involved. Maybe even ordinary life pressures or illness can stimulate the activity of genes related to the OCD symptoms.
Some experts believe that OCD beginning in childhood may be unique from the condition that starts in adults.
“PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections) is a type of OCD that occurs in childhood following the body’s reaction to infection. PANDAS looks very different from other forms of childhood OCD, the most obvious difference being that it happens very suddenly, with the child starting to have symptoms seemingly overnight, and has a very severe impact on the child’s life.”
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
If you believe you suffer from OCD and have decided to get help, schedule an initial exam with your medical doctor. Depending on the outcome, you may then be referred to a mental healthcare specialist. In either case, an effort will be made to determine underlying causes. Typical treatment involves psychotherapy, self-help, group therapy, changing your eating habits, or even prescription medicine.
Research has also shown that ketamine infusion therapy is helpful in patients suffering from OCD or other mental illnesses, as the drug works to repair or enhance neurotransmitters in the brain to better control symptoms.
If you or a loved one have questions about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of OCD we can help. Please contact us today to learn more.