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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is an anxiety disorder, which affects millions of adults and children in the US. Symptoms include persistent hand-washing, repeated checking, aversion to certain numbers, nervous rituals like opening and closing doors. For example, the TV detective Adrian Monk was a prisoner of his rituals, fearful of germs, unable to relate normally with his co-workers. Despite being a genius at what he did, he could not concentrate at work if a single picture frame or piece of furniture was out of alignment.

Obsessions are intrusive thoughts that recur and persist despite efforts to ignore or confront them. Obsessive fears could range from persistent thoughts about a close person dying, disturbing sexual thoughts about (say) incest or sexual orientation, fears about God or the Devil harming a loved one etc. etc.

People with OCD frequently perform tasks (or compulsions) to seek relief from the obsession.

OCD sufferers often understand that their obsessions are not based in reality; it is still difficult for them to ignore the irrational fear and abandon the compulsive rituals. OCD can turn you into a prisoner within your own mind, causing time-consuming mental and financial distress. Many healthy people wonder of they have OCD when they find themselves checking and re-checking or ordering items their kitchen in a particular fashion. The key difference is that OCD sufferers spend a lot of time, sometimes many hours in a day performing their compulsions. Compulsions become clinically significant when the sufferer MUST perform the actions in order to avoid significant emotional distress.

Treatment for OCD is not easy and causes are not well understood as yet. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and medications (such as SSRI anti-depressants) are regarded as first-line treatments for OCD. SSRIs such as Paroxetine and Sertraline prevent excess serotonin from being pumped back to the original neuron that released it. It may take a few weeks to see tangible improvement, and many sufferers only experience a partial reduction in symptoms. CBT and pharmacological treatment can lead to a substantial reduction in symptoms for many people.

There is a tremendous need for new and more effective medications to treat symptoms of OCD for those who are not adequately helped with CBT and/or current medications.

Click here to view “Living with OCD a documentary on You Tube

(KCS, LLC is not responsible for the content of the documentary)