OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.
People with OCD may have symptoms of obsessions, compulsions or both. These symptoms can interfere with all aspects of life, such as work, school and personal relationships.
Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety. Common symptoms include:
- Fears of germs or contamination.
- Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion and harm.
- Aggressive thoughts towards others or self.
- Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order.
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought. Common compulsion include:
- Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing.
- Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way.
- Repeatedly checking on things.
- Compulsive counting.
OCD is typically treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two.
Antidepressants are used to help reduce OCD symptoms. Examples of medication that have been proven effective in both adults and children with OCD include Clomipramine, which is a tricyclic antidepressant; Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Citalopram, Paroxetine which are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIS).
If symptoms do not improve with these types of medications, research shows that some patients may respond well to an antipsychotic medication such as Risperidone.
Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for adults and children with OCD. Research shows that certain types of psychotherapy including Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) such as Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) are effective.