Signs And Symptoms Of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or simply  OCD is a mental health condition that's characterized by recurrent unwanted thoughts or repetitive behavior.

Mr. Monk in the pilot episode of the TV show is investigating a case as a consultant. He has been accompanied by his assistant Sharona Fleming but Mr. Monk can’t seem to focus as he’s constantly wondering whether he turned off the gas at home.

He  can’t bear it any longer and in the end leaves the crime scene to go check on his  gas at home. Mr. Monk’s behaviors annoys his assistant who has insisted that the gas was turned off.

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Mr. Monk may come off as peculiar and his habit and behaviors always end up annoying a person or two or even messing up a case but has  a disorder where he has intrusive thoughts which are a commonality to people suffering from OCD.

These thought may cause interruption of daily functioning and often interferes with a person’s focus as in the case of Mr. Monk who can’t seem to focus on the case at hand because he keeps thinking of something else.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or simply  OCD is a mental health condition that’s characterized by recurrent unwanted thoughts or repetitive behavior.

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People with OCD can be said to be  perfectionists as they feel something has to be a certain way before they can use it. People suffering from this condition have a fear of germs or feel the need to arrange things in a certain way maybe by colors or even alphabetically

According to statistics, 2.3% of the world’s population has OCD. People suffering from OCD have to endure constant intrusion of unwanted obsessive thoughts that cause distress and anxiety.

In order to control these thoughts they form rituals by performing some actions repeatedly, these behaviors tend to be time-consuming which leads to a lot of distraction and confusion.

OCD can occur to individuals of all ages. In children and adolescents OCD proves to be more serious. The symptoms can start showing from as early as 10 year to as late as 23 years.

Children who suffer from OCD tend to suffer from other co occurring disorders such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder(ADHD). They may also have low self esteem, other physical illnesses and have trouble in forming relationships and other social interactions.

In adolescents, their ability to perform daily activities may be limited as OCD may cause them to have functional impairment disorder. They may also suffer from mental compulsions.

In adults the compulsions are less as they already have an idea of the patterns of their behaviors and therefore have better control than children and adolescents.

The main cause for OCD is unknown but it may be caused by genetic, environmental factors, auto immune diseases or even biology. Studies show that most people whose family member suffer from OCD have a 25% chance of having symptoms of OCD.

The signs and symptoms of a person suffering from OCD are: Frequent hand washing, Checking on doors and windows. repeatedly to make sure they are locked, Counting in a certain pattern, Silently repeating a word or a phrase, and and and and Arranging things to face a certain way.

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The problems that arise from OCD are: A wastage of time as they focus too much on ritualistic behavior, Health issues like dermatitis from frequent hand washing, Difficulty in performing daily activities like school, work, or social activities, and They may have suicidal thoughts.

There are several types of OCD

  1. Cleanliness OCD

Individuals suffering from OCD have a fear of touching things or being touched ad they are afraid of being contaminated. They perceive things or people to be germ filled.

  • Order OCD

Individuals who suffer from this type of OCD create a very intense urge to arrange and rearrange things until they are just right or at least how they think it  ought to be. The person may decide that the books in a shelf have to face a certain direction.

  • Harm OCD

Individuals suffering from this OCD have an extreme feeling or have worries that they will cause harm to themselves or others. To distract themselves from these thoughts they develop rituals which may act as a coping mechanism.

  • Hoarding  OCD

The individual that suffers from the OCD  form a habit of collecting things that don’t have much need or value to them. The hoarder may  keep many of these items causing their world to be unlivable because of clutter.

 TREATMENT

Having relevant knowledge about OCD can play a vital role in treating and managing it. Brain active for people suffering from OCD is usually higher than those who aren’t suffering. The person who suffers from OCD can receive treatment to help manage this condition. The treatment may or may not require medication.

NON MEDICATION TREATMENT

1.TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC SIMULATION (TMS)

An electromagnetic coil is placed on the patients head and used to send magnetic impulses to the brain. The target is the pre supplementary motor area in the brain. Most patients report fewer symptoms of OCD and it can last up to three months. The method of treatment has no significant side effects.

2. PSYCHOTHERAPY

The patient is taught better ways to cope with the intrusive thoughts and compulsions. These intrusive behaviors are an obsession that come with OCD , they interrupt what a person is focusing on an example from Mr. Monk is when Adrian Monk had to stop chasing a criminal because he had to wipe down the fire escape that was dirty. There are several types of therapy. They include;

     Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

 The cognitive behavioral therapy may exist in two different treatments cognitive therapy and exposure and response evaluation.

  •  Cognitive therapy

The therapist encourages the person to identify the evidence that supports and doesn’t supports obsession the person identifies cognitive distortion relating to the obsessions and finally learns to develop a less threatening response to the intrusive thought.

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  • Exposure and response evaluation

In this therapy the individual is exposed to situations or objects that may trigger fear and anxiety and they are taught how to resist performing compulsive behaviors. This method helps reduce the level of anxiety.

  • Psychoeducational

In this type of therapy, the primary physician provides information on the Disorder along with the appropriate coping stages.

 The family and the person learn how to         control and live with the disorder. The attitude of those surrounding the person with OCD is very important as it may play a big role in his ability to form relationships and social interactions.

MEDICATION TREATMENT

There are certain psychiatric medication that can help control the obsessions and compulsions of OCD. Anti depressants are usually the first medications administered. Some of the medications are;

  • Clomipramine which is for adults and children who are ten years and above
  • Fluoxetine which is for adults and children who are seven years and above.
  • Fluvoxamine which is for adults and children who are eight years and above.
  • Paroxetine which is for adults only.
  • Sertraline which is for adults and children who are six years and above.

OCD is a condition that can be managed and the person suffering can live a full life as long as the have a good support system and receive the necessary treatments.

Acceptance and having the right attitude also play a vital role improving their quality of life.  In the final season of Mr. Monk, detective Adrian Monk finally gets to understand how to live and control his condition after years of therapy and great support from his friends.

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