One in fifty Americans suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This amount is alarming considering that not too long ago the disease was considered very rare. OCD is an anxiety disorder with obsession and compulsion that lead into many other symptoms.
Since OCD can play a part in many other disorders, like Attention Deficit Disorder, it is difficult to diagnose. Obsessions are the sufferers constant thinking about a particular thing. Is the iron shut off? The thought never goes away and then you go back to check the iron repeatedly. Cleaning a surface or house repeatedly for fear that germs may cause harm or illness.
With the obsession of OCD, the person will try to achieve perfection. This is not to be confused with perfectionism. With OCD, in trying to attain perfection, the sufferer will continue the process until the obsession subsides without rest or thinking it through. The perfectionist has the ability to think it out rationally and notice the errors. Obsession does not solely have to deal with the individual; it can and may include loved ones or anyone relating to the obsession.
Compulsion is the performing of tasks or rituals. When walking down the sidewalk, the person would not be able to step on a crack in the cement, and to do so would bring on severe anxiety. Another example of compulsion is to have to count the paces from point A to point B.
Other examples include washing your hands repeatedly and usually done in a ritualistic manner, like when drying the hands, the face also has to be wet. Or the inability to wash just one hand or get one hand wet. Numbering or keeping a strict watch on socks because the right sox must be on the right foot.
These are just examples of compulsion, however a compulsion alone does not mean one has OCD. It is also important to remember that OCD is part of the anxiety family, so the compulsion is intended to reduce the anxiety which is crucial to the OCD sufferer. Notably, the rituals or tasks performed by the compulsion of OCD often create an anxiety of their own.
In scientific research and many hours of therapy sessions, there is no known reason or cause of OCD. On the outset, an OCD sufferer may not know they actually have the disorder until actually confronted about a ritual. This may be the link to the disorder being so rare years past. Of course, severe OCD sufferers would know right away that something may be wrong.
Due to the complexity of diagnosing OCD it is imperative that one talks to a health care professional. This fact is simply because a person may go into a fit when they smell fresh baked pumpkin pie.
This may be thought to be an OCD symptom but may actually be a severe allergy to the smells of pumpkin pie baking, or the heating fumes of the oven. Once the health care professional has ruled out this factor or any health related issue, the next step would be to talk to a mental health therapist.
Treatment for ocd in the UK and US is pretty much the same. The mental health therapist would do another series of tests and may require a log of suspected obsessions or compulsions. With the return of this data, the mental health professional will be able to select a medication or treatment plan or both combined to help alleviate the symptoms of OCD.