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When thoughts take control: A Look into Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

Has your mind ever given you a hard time? Like bringing unwanted and unreasonable thoughts, for instance? Or simply, have you ever seen a person who checks their door lock multiple times before leaving the house? These all might be the deeds of Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as ‘doubting disorder’ is a mental disorder in which a person has recurrent, unwanted thoughts or ideas. These thoughts are followed by compulsions and unreasonable acts that are done to stop the thoughts.

Many people can have some disturbing thoughts even when they do not suffer from OCD, however, these thoughts can’t interfere with their daily activities as it happen in OCD conditions. People with this disorder are more likely to fail in their daily responsibilities like housework, studying, writing, etc.

To understand this, let’s dive into Sophia’s story, One of OCD’s victims. “When my OCD first started I thought it was simply anxiety, but after doing some research into mental health I realized it was OCD.

I felt guilty and paranoid for most of the day with very little relief, overthinking every little bit of whatever thought or image was in my head at the time. I would wake up with palpitations and struggle to sleep because I couldn’t stop ruminating” she said.

“I haven’t experienced many compulsions, but my primary one was reassurance-seeking or confessing. I constantly felt guilty for my thoughts and at my lowest point, when it became overwhelming, I would find myself asking my mum or partner to remind me that I am a good person, but my brain didn’t seem to want to believe it. It was a terrifying circle. An intrusive thought would come in, I’d panic and ruminate, find someone to confess to,” she continued.

Though OCD is a dangerous and common mental disorder, health professionals are not yet sure about the exact cause of it. However, genetics, brain abnormalities, and the environment are believed to have a significant role in its development.

Symptoms of OCD

While symptoms can vary among individuals, the important one is obsessions which are unfounded fears, worries, and thoughts that cause severe anxiety. Some of these obsessions are having a strong fixation with dirt or germs, thoughts about violence or hurting someone, repeated doubts, a need to have things in a specific order, spending a long period touching or counting something, being troubled by thoughts that are against one’s religious belief, and others.

These obsessions can be followed by compulsions like excessive hand washing, checking, and rechecking things, following rigid rules of order like alphabetizing the spices getting angry when the order is destroyed, etc.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can’t be entirely treated. Though this may sound scary, there are some ways professionals use to manage it just like any other chronic disease. This is why if you/your relatives are experiencing the mentioned symptoms, contacting health professionals is always a good idea.

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