OCD is a condition of the mind being unable to free itself from repetitive and overwhelming ideas, imaginations, thoughts and impulses. The thoughts and images could be about reality or the dream world. The person if older than a child could already be aware of the disorder and try to stop these obsessive images by generating new ideas and thoughts to override the initial ones. Compulsions refer to the actions the disorder may compel the patient to do like repetitive behavior (such as speaking quietly to own self, clapping- which may not be rationale). It consumes part of the person’s time each while also interfering with every day activities (Alloy et al, 2006). Persons suffering OCD may have perfectionists-kind of behavior and may appear tapped with routine or achieving high productivity.
The impulse of OCD can be trailed back to the 1400s when everything that existed was linked to superstitious notions. Obsessions and compulsions were mentioned by John Climacus (6th century) and also in the notes of Plutarch (1st century). During the European Renaissance period marked between 14th and 16th centuries there was an enlightment so that people were beginning to find explanations that were free from superstitions as new breed of intellectuals were emerging with the concept of scrupulosity. Still in this period the clergy had become popular with healing people with mental disorders (Parritz et al, 2010). Towards the end of the 16th century the English clergy men had become familiar with the illness due to the constant interaction with it. They gave outlines on how to correct the disorder highlighting the impact of fear or anxiety. Anglican bishop John Moore (1692) elaborated how compressing obsessions could result in severe compulsion. Patients were advised to avoid solitude and be constantly engaged in doing activities.
Next was the entry of the physicians who emerged trying to address the anomaly of the mind. They did not have much expertise in the 18th century thus each had his own methods; the first common technique to be applied was blood letting. There were testimonies of a woman with the compulsion of harming her child being healed by laxatives and enemas from her physician (Admin, 2011). The physicians gave different description of obsessions and compulsions such as compulsive checking, washing and obsessive responsibility, harm etc. Later the asylum period where institution were in place to take in such people and even scrupulosity was regarded as madness.
In the medical classifications of the 1800s, OCD was accepted as an ailment of the brain (neurosis) and not of the mind (psychosis). This led to patients being treated with chemical compounds that affect the functioning of the brains such as bromide, morphine and opium. The Freudian revolution of the early 20th century described that the compulsions are symbols of the things which the patient imagines performing. Later in the 1960s and 1970s the behavioral approach emerged from psychology where obsessions and compulsion are linked to fear, avoidance and conditioned response. Hand in hand with these developments were products to treat the illness such as Prozac, Luvox, Zoloft and Paxil.
Treatments for OCD vary from self help, to the instructions of a therapist then unto medication.
This involves two techniques; exposure and response prevention (ERP) and the traditional psychotherapy. In the ERP also known as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) the patient and his/her therapist identify the objects or situations that cause anxiety to the patient; he/she is then introduced to them gradually and then often until he/she gets accustomed to the conditions. In psychotherapy the patient is allowed and encouraged to talk to a psychotherapist and then the facts and beliefs surrounding his state are integrated to various solutions (Parritz et al, 2010). It aims at increasing the patient’s awareness of his/her problem and a possible self help approach.
The patient is issued with drugs that have functional effect on the brain. One group of compounds is the Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) which enhance the activity of the brain by increasing serotonin a substance that the brain utilizes to transmit signals. Patient with moderate and severe OCDs are required to use SSRIs for a minimum period of 12 years while the benefits may not be realized sometimes up to 12 weeks. Another anti-depressant is Clomipramine with several side effects
The early people including physicians and the clergy had recognized that isolation increased the intensity of the illness. Institutionalizing patients has also been common where they are set a rehabilitation center for those with similar illness. It is important for family gatherings as well as members to undertake initiatives that will improve the well being of patients with OCD (Swinson, 2001). Monitoring of patients from the family setting will highly limit the grounding and stability of the ailment hence leading to a quick recovery.
Ablation neurosurgery is whereby the surgeon sterilizes part of the limbic system using electric current or pulse radiation. The limbic system performs functions related to memory, behavior and emotions. This treatment is only used when the behavioral therapy have failed to change the patients behavior. Deep brain simulation is still under consideration which uses electric signals to communicate to the brain. Surgical treatment is highly recommended for treating serious ailment of OCD due to the fact that it is very effective (Admin, 2011). Half of the total numbers of people who have undergone a brain surgery have indicated some level of improvement while research indicates that minority did not improve.
In order to reduce ritual behaviors of OCD in children and adolescent, it is important to undertake Therapeutic treatment. Family members should be close and effective in monitoring the treatment for their input is a key component to the success of such treatments. A parent who has a monitoring schedule for the child will also impact positive reinforcement over the child’s condition. Successive medication and monitoring will enable the child develop a friendly environment and he or she will have company (Parritz et al, 2010). The child will be enabled to cope as well as acquire new horizons of friends. In younger people, OCD is believed to be a resultant of brain abnormalities as well as stress and it is imperative for family members to note this causes.
Researches have indicated that OCD can be treated with the naturally occurring sugar inositol. The concept is a suggestive modulator of the actions of serotonin and reverses desensitization of neurotransmitter receptors. A victim of the ailment should take mineral as well as vitamin supplements which are known to assist the disorder. They can also provide nutrients that are necessary for effective mental functioning (Alloy et al, 2006). OCD symptoms can as well be treated using Psychedelics like the LSD, peyote and tryptamine alkaloid psilocybin. Treatment using regular nicotine is likely to degenerate symptoms of OCD.
The studies as indicated by the table show that the rate of OCD among women is higher than among men. Prevalence is found to be higher among women, although some estimates fail to evaluate the difference. A study conducted by Weismann et al in 1994 shows the female male ratio varying from 0.8 in Munich to 3.8 in Germany.
A young man named Marco had an experience with OCD since his primary school days. Now at 22 years, Marco does not have friends because of his situation. He is willing to make friends and start his life all over again. In an interview, March describes how he has a low self esteem when he talks to other people. His situation makes him clean himself in the shower several times, washing his hands as well as cleaning his room over and over again. Marco notes that the symptoms begun when he was nine years old. He used to worry about sin and on the things he had done. He felt as though it was torture. He notes that the symptoms haven’t changed much since he was young but over the past year, they have shown signs of improvement. Marco notes that he developed stomach disorders and was treated for anorexia but he still felt that it was OCD.
Marco’s view of OCD: He finds it time consuming and distressing, He notes that his day is envisioned by checking, cleaning or even worrying about illogical things. His mind has never been at rest making his situation horrific and exhausting. It took him sometime struggling with OCD and the state of wanting to be free before he finally accepted the situation. His wish was to go out in an open place and shout it all out believing that it could go away (Tobias et al 1997) . His experience with OCD is described as a torment and the mind is not allowed to rest. Marco at times just stays in particular place and nearly feel like he is going crazy.
Marco indicates that his family members were exasperated. They were angry about his situation due to the difficulty that comes with OCD. This was part because his eating problems were horrendous as well as all-consuming. Family members stayed with him until late at night when he felt safe to eat, that was around 10 o’clock. Marco notes that the eating session could continue until two o’clock in the morning.
On the things that have helped him through the years, March notes of being a member of the support group, where he was able to be supported by other members. The members accepted him for who he was and this lessens his stress. Accepting the situation of OCD enable an individual to break away from the cocoon and is able to see the world for what it is as well as accepting himself. It enables one to discover his or her true identity which had been hidden by OCD. It opens an avenue for positive growth.
Over Compulsive Disorder can therefore be termed as a mental disorder where ones brain is stuck on ideas as well as thoughts. People who have experienced the disorder term it as a mental hiccup due to the fact that the thoughts keep on reoccurring. As have been stated in the paper, the thoughts envisioned in OCD include worries, doubts as well as superstitious beliefs. The study indicates that OCD can therefore be termed as a mental disorder that limits the flow of information and how it is processed in an individual. In conclusion, it is imperative to indicate that OCD is characterized by an obsession as well as compulsion. A person suffering OCD is seen repeating several thoughts in their head and it is a condition that might persist in the life of a patient throughout a person’s life.
Admin, (2011). Over Compulsive Disorder-The Odd Ball Driven To Despair. Retrieved 2nd May 2011 from http://healthcaretreatment.info/depression/over-compulsive-disorder-the-odd-ball-driven-to despair.html
Alloy, B.L. et al. (2006) Cognitive vulnerability to emotional disorders. London. Routledge.
Parritz, H.R. et al. (2010). Disorders of Childhood: Development and Psychopathology. Connecticut. Cengage Learning.
Swinson, P.R. (2001). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Theory, Research, and Treatment. New York, NY. Guilford Press.
Tobias, Y.A.J et al. (1997). Obsessive-compulsive disorder spectrum: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment. Virginia, VA. American Psychiatric Pub.