Compulsions or obsessive -compulsive disorders are mental illnesses. The patient suffers from obsessive thoughts and mental stress, so that he has to unconsciously carry out compulsive actions (e.g. constant washing of hands). It is also called a mental disorder. Determining its cause is not so easy, because it can be both psychological and organic. In addition to psychotherapy, obsessive-compulsive disorder can also be treated with medication.
What are compulsions and obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Obsessive – compulsive disorder is divided into obsessive-compulsive thoughts and compulsive actions. The obsessions differ from normal thoughts in the way they are experienced and thought by the sufferer. The thoughts during OCD are accompanied by the constant fear of harming other people or getting into an embarrassing situation yourself. For hollow foot definition and meaning, please visit howsmb.com.
They cannot be consciously switched off or thought through to the end, so that, like a cycle, they keep reappearing and finally end in despair. The obsessions are further subdivided into obsessions, compulsive impulses and compulsive brooding. When imagining and pondering, the person concerned keeps going through a negative situation in their mind, e.g. B. that something might happen to the spouse, or that he might have misunderstood something.
The compulsive impulses drive him to carry out certain actions, even if they can have negative effects for the person concerned or for others. While obsessive-compulsive disorder is perceived as nonsensical, any attempt to fight back triggers even more anxiety and tension.
In the case of obsessive-compulsive disorder, the person affected cannot defend themselves against the compulsive actions. These actions are behaviors that need to be repeated so often that they interfere with daily life. An example of behavior during OCD is constantly checking to see if the stove has been turned off. In this case, the person concerned is subject to the compulsion to want to check this again and again and thus does not get to do other things.
Obsessive – compulsive disorder can appear in different forms and in different contexts. Several factors play a role in obsessive-compulsive disorder. On the one hand, the obsessive-compulsive disorder can be caused by an organic malfunction, on the other hand, by mental disorders.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder often occurs in conjunction with other disorders. For example, in connection with multiple sclerosis or epilepsy, but also together with depressive disorders, schizophrenia and alcohol abuse, the obsessive-compulsive disorder can occur. However, one speaks of an obsessive-compulsive disorder only when it is particularly severe and there is no other mental illness.
From a medical point of view, the cause of OCD is that certain regions of the brain are damaged. This can be the basal ganglia, the limbic system or the frontal lobe. If there is a family history of obsessive-compulsive disorder, this biological factor often cannot be ruled out as a cause.
- Constant hand washing ( compulsory cleanliness ) after touching objects or people
- Control compulsions, e.g. whether the stove is off or whether the door is really locked
- Obligation to count – The person concerned must constantly count something in his environment. For example, the slabs on the sidewalk or the steps of a staircase
- Compulsive order – everything in the apartment must be in its place, nothing may be dirty or arranged differently
- Touch compulsion – Patients need to constantly touch a certain object or, conversely, patients cannot touch a certain object at all
- verbal and auditory compulsions – For example, patients have to sing or whistle the same tune over and over, or repeat certain expressions
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Obsessive-compulsive disorder manifests itself in different ways as there are different forms of the disorder. A classic example is the compulsion to wash, where those affected have to wash their hands again and again because even using a door handle harmlessly is suspected of contamination with dangerous bacteria.
Compulsive control is also very common. Here, for example, those affected keep checking to see whether a stove is really switched off, even if they have done it several times before. Counting can become a compulsion, as can the habit of walking the same path over and over again or performing rituals. A wide field are also the obsessions that have to be played through in the mind again and again.
What all compulsions have in common is that the person affected often recognizes the senselessness of actions and thoughts, but cannot do anything about it. Often the thought associated with defending against a compulsion is that something bad could happen if the compulsion is not carried out correctly.
The compulsions of those affected are often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety and depressive moods, because the compulsion triggers shame and helplessness and often drives the patients into social isolation. In obsessive-compulsive disorder, a large part of the day is spent on compulsive actions and thoughts.
Diagnosis & History
The obsessive -compulsive disorder can be diagnosed when the patient lives with the obsessions or compulsive actions for at least two weeks and also describes this condition as an experience of suffering and has to experience a reduced quality of life as a result of this situation, i.e. the obsessive-compulsive disorder significantly impairs his everyday life.
Another aspect of OCD is that the sufferer recognizes obsessions as their own and is unable to resist them. The idea of carrying out the thought or idea or impulse is coupled with unpleasant feelings. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can also cause physical harm, e.g. Eczema develops, for example, when washing hands frequently. If the obsessive-compulsive disorder is severe, thoughts of suicide are also possible.
Complications associated with OCD can be very diverse. The extent of possible complications depends, among other things, on whether the obsessive-compulsive disorder also affects other people or even has self-injurious elements. Therapy reduces the risk of complications.
Obsessive-compulsive disorders are often a reason for social isolation, since those affected sometimes become unable to work or are socially very restricted. In combination with the high correlation to depressive moods, depression and other personality disorders associated with OCD, the risk for suicidal thoughts and the corresponding action increases increasingly.
Furthermore, the compulsion to wash leads to skin damage (usually to eczema), which can lead to other health problems. Obsessive-compulsive neuroses always harbor the risk that the person affected will neglect other areas of life in favor of their disorder (especially the urge to constantly control certain things) and thus get into negative situations. This is also the case when it comes to obsessive thoughts that primarily affect the immediate environment.
Precisely such thoughts, which consist of fantasies of violence or inappropriate sexual fantasies, put a tremendous strain on the relationship between the person concerned and their environment. While there is no significant risk of these thoughts being acted out purely because of OCD, numerous other personality disorders can lead to a loss of impulse control.
When should you go to the doctor?
Not every everyday ritual is part of an obsessive-compulsive disorder that requires medical or psychotherapeutic treatment. However, those affected should consult a doctor or therapist if their everyday life suffers from the unpleasant compulsions or obsessions and the compulsions last for at least two weeks. On the other hand, everyday rituals that are positive and perceived as pleasant do not represent clinical constraints.
In principle, it is recommended that people seek diagnostic clarification if they discover the symptoms of an obsessive-compulsive disorder and suffer from it. A diagnosis can be made by a doctor, psychologist, psychotherapist or naturopath. In particular, psychologists, psychotherapists and specialists in psychiatry and psychotherapy are trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. For this reason, it makes sense if those affected prefer to contact these professional groups. The family doctor can also be the first point of contact and, if necessary, issue a referral.
The subjective level of suffering in an obsessive-compulsive disorder is very individual. A strong subjective burden is also a reason to seek medical or psychological help. In addition, professional advice may be needed if the compulsions result in physical or other problems – for example, skin problems resulting from compulsive washing.
Treatment & Therapy
Early treatment of obsessive -compulsive disorder is recommended. First of all, the family doctor or a neurologist should be consulted, because damage to the brain regions can be treated with drugs that inhibit the uptake of serotonin. These are usually antidepressants or neuroleptics.
Furthermore, it helps the person affected and their relatives to be able to deal with the obsessive-compulsive disorder better if they seek therapeutic help. A cognitive therapy in which the person concerned works towards the goal of changing their thought patterns is very promising.
In this context, the patient learns how to deal with stressful situations, a suitable strategy for coping with everyday life and, among other things, new behavioral patterns in the interpersonal area.
Obsessive -compulsive disorder usually comes unexpectedly. However, if the patient and their relatives inform themselves intensively about the obsessive-compulsive disorder, a recurrence is best prevented, but the obsessive-compulsive disorder should be accepted.
If the obsessive-compulsive disorder has been successfully treated and is no longer openly recognizable to others, it is now up to the person concerned to discover the first signs themselves and, if there is a stronger suspicion, to immediately consult a suitable (psycho)therapist in order to prevent a lengthy course of therapy. Furthermore, possible triggers, such as permanent, extreme stressful situations (also at work) should be avoided and instead one’s own behavior and thoughts should be checked regularly.
Even out of the affect, no casual, harmless habits should be developed for temporary calming, as these can later develop into an uncontrollable compulsion. However, if the compulsion is not cured and there is no prospect of healing, it is essential for the sufferer to accept his compulsion and, if possible, to avoid places or other places where the compulsion cannot be controlled.
Not only in the case of verbal compulsions, but also in the case of thought or behavioral compulsions, it is advantageous to inform acquaintances and friends about one’s own behavior in order to prevent unpleasant situations or misunderstandings. Furthermore, the compulsion should not be violently passed over – even in public – as this can not only cause a loss of control but also a strong feeling of discomfort for the person concerned.
You can do that yourself
First, it’s important to have a basic understanding of your obsessive-compulsive disorder. This can make the situation easier for the person concerned. The person affected must be aware of exactly how his disorder manifests itself and how it affects him and his life.
It can also be a great relief to know that they are not alone in their experiences. Those affected have to accept stress and learn to accept it not as a disruptive factor, but as part of life. You should learn other strategies to deal with stress. For example, getting enough sleep, eating enough and good food, meditation, and getting enough exercise can all help reduce symptoms. Running in particular can bring about a significant improvement. Using relaxation techniques (e.g. deep breathing or meditative mindfulness exercises) is also helpful.
The next step would be to accept and confront his fears. Formulating negative thoughts about the OCD and acknowledging them positively has been shown to be an effective method of reducing the disorder and can also be used without the help of a therapist. It often makes sense to deal with your fears in an analytical and logical way and to think about strategies for the worst-case scenario. All these techniques are easy to incorporate into everyday life and free time.