Do I have OCD?
Do you frequently experience persistent, unwanted thoughts? Do you also find yourself needing to perform specific behaviors in order to calm your brain? If these thoughts and related actions are interrupting daily life processes, it is possible that you have OCD disorder. What is OCD disorder? Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder comprised of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are negative thoughts or feelings that are undesired and cause a great deal of anxiety. For example, you can constantly think of an imminent danger, such as a sickness or a safety concern. Compulsions are the ritualistic coping mechanisms used in an attempt to stop the obsessions. You believe that if you wash your hands five times in a row starting from the left, you will avoid getting sick. The disorder may cause a large deal of stress, and affect the wellbeing of the afflicted individual. Read this article to find out if you may have OCD.
Symptoms of OCD
When posing the question, What is OCD disorder? both obsessive and compulsive symptoms must be taken into consideration. According to HelpGuide.org, if you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have OCD:
- Fear of hurting oneself or others
- Fear of contamination (germs)
- Intrusive sexual and violent thoughts
- Religious/moral fixation
- Necessity for very specific order/symmetry
- Excessive superstition
- Excessive double-checking
- Repeatedly checking on loved ones
- Excessive praying
- Counting, tapping, or repeating words
- Excessive washing and cleaning
- Meticulously arranging items
- Hoarding seemingly useless items
Who is Likely to Have OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder may begin at any age, though there are typically two age ranges where onset is most common. The International OCD Foundation notes that OCD symptoms commonly start between eight and 12 years of age, as well as from late adolescence to early adulthood. In the United States, approximately two million adults, and 500,000 children have OCD at any given time, says International OCD Foundation. The average age for clinical diagnosis is 19, split evenly between women and men, states the National Institute of Mental Health.
While children experience the same symptoms as adults with OCD disorder, the way these symptoms are expressed may differ. It is typical for a child suffering from the disorder to ask parents to participate in compulsions. They may ask parents to repeat specific phrases or reassurances, or require them to consistently answer the same questions. If you think that your child may have obsessive-compulsive disorder, you can look for signs such as:
- Raw hands (from constant washing)
- Constant fear of getting sick
- A drop in grades
- Increase in laundry
- Constant checking of family members
- Persistent odd thoughts about something bad happening
Possible Causes of OCD
The cause of OCD disorder is not yet clear, though researchers have a couple theories as to why the condition occurs. The first theory hypothesizes that irregular serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation and other bodily functions, activity has been shown to cause OCD symptoms. The symptoms of this condition usually improve with serotonin-regulating medications (i.e. certain antidepressants).
The second theory pertains to genes and heredity. Research has shown that genetics play a partial role in the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder. A recent study of twins found that genes affect the condition more when the onset is during adulthood versus adulthood. Forty-five percent to 65% of children who have an identical twin with OCD will also develop the condition, whereas the rate of occurrence is 27% to 47% for adults, says International OCD Foundation.
If you have been experiencing unwanted, odd thoughts, followed by the necessity to complete ritualistic behaviors to stop them, you may have OCD disorder. What is OCD disorder? It is the occurrence of obsessions that cause anxiety, paired with compulsions to try and calm the distress that these thoughts cause. It has the ability to severely hinder daily functioning. The cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder is not yet known, though scientists theorize that brain structures, as well as genetics, may be major factors.
Medical research has had much success with treating OCD symptoms with dTMS, or Deep Magnetic Transcranial Stimulation, which is a procedure used to stimulate centers of the brain responsible for mood regulation. Having no negative side effects, this OCD treatment is safe and effective. Currently, Los Angeles clinical trials for OCD are testing the effects of dTMS on OCD patients. Participants are being sought to try this OCD treatment with full compensation, as well as free doctor care. If you are interested in entering a Los Angeles medical trial for OCD, contact the Pacific Institute of Medical Research, which is an independent clinical research site specializing in psychiatry since 1982. Visit us online or call us at (310) 208-7144.