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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder obsess over a maze of persistent, unwanted thoughts. When the pressure of these obsessive thoughts builds up, the person tries to relieve the buildup by performing compulsive rituals, again and again. For example, they may wash, check, arrange things or count, but the relief is only temporary. Common OCD obsessions revolve around contamination (fear of germs), doubts (not being sure whether the lights are off or the door locked) and disturbing sexual or religious thoughts.

The cause is believed to be neurological and/or genetic. OCD can occur in people of all ages, but usually during adolescence or early adulthood. It affects men and women equally. Because individuals with OCD may spend an hour or more every day carrying out rituals, relationships at work and home can suffer.

Diagnosis and Treatment
OCD tends to be under diagnosed and under treated, partly because many are ashamed and secretive or don’t believe they have a problem. In addition, many healthcare practitioners are not well informed about the condition.
Two effective treatments for OCD are medication and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Used together, these treatments can be effective.

Children with OCD may also suffer from conditions such as panic disorder, social phobia, depression, learning disorders, tic disorders, disruptive behaviour disorders and body dysmorphic disorder (imagined ugliness). Cognitive-behaviour therapy can help a child gain relief from OCD symptoms. Medication is generally given to children only when CBT has not achieved the desired results.

Excerpts from CMHA National web site – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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