What its like to have OCD?

OCD: Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder: Characterized by chronic obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions (such as cleaning or washing hands). It's an anxiety disorder which interferes with normal functioning. Individuals who suffer from OCD become trapped in a pattern of repetitive and generally meaningless thoughts and behaviors. The person usually realizes at some point during the disorder that their actions and thoughts are unreasonable and anxiety inducing.

Obsession Symptoms:
-persistent, intense, senseless, worrisome
-opposed thoughts, images, or impulses which are difficult to ignore
-emotional component
-increases or produces anxiety

Common Examples of Obsessions:
-fear of contamination
-repeated doubt
-need for exactness or symmetry
-harming or aggressive thoughts
-unacceptable religious or sexual thoughts

-repetitive act or behavior done to neutralize the obsessive thought or decrease anxiety
Such compulsions are aimed at reducing stress or preventing some dreaded event or situation

Common Examples or Compulsions:
-checking, countings, ordering, repeating, praying, hoarding, pacing or seeking reassurance

Scrupulosity: A spiritual disorder characterized by perfectionism and obsessive fears of God's punishment. Some patients with OCD also develop religious scrupulosity.

OCD & the brain: OCD is believed to be linked to neurotransmitter Serotonin (controls: mood, apetite, pain, sleep, agression, ect.). Those with OCD may have faulty serotonin receptors. Therefore, antidepressants are sometimes used to control the symptoms, since these drugs inhibit serotonin reputake so that it stays in the synpase longer. Other abnormalities found in the brains of many OCD diagnosed patients were in the orbital cortex and the basal ganglia. This means that the communication between certain sections of the brain was not functioning correctly, and when the brain reacts to anxiety, it is possible that people diagnosed with OCD act in such a deviant matter due to the abnormal connections in the brain.
PET & MRI scans are conducted to get this type of information on the brains of OCD patients.
However some researchers believe that OCD can be a result of the environment that a person is in, and that it can be due to behaviors that the person has picked up on over time. As a result of a study, some researchers believe that OCD in children can come after having strep throat. Although these studies have been known to not be as credible and more research is needed.

Approximately 1 in 100 adults suffer from OCD. That means that over 2 million adults in the United States live with this debilitating disorder. Along with that, 1 in 200 (or about 500,000) kids have OCD. The risk for attaining OCD increases if there is someone in your family with the disorder. This is because OCD runs in families and genes play a role in the development of the disorder.

Diagnositic Challenges:
It is sometimes difficult to diagnosis OCD because some of the symptoms are also indicative of other disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, or Schizophrenia.

-On average, it takes 14-17 years for someone suffering from OCD to get the right treatment
There are three basic forms of treatment:
-Finding a therapist who can diagnose and effectively treat OCD since many therapists are not trained to deal with this specific disorder.
-Cognitive Behavior Therapy: This specific type of OCD treatment focuses on confronting the specific thoughts and sensations that make the patient obsessive and compulsive. Then, they exercise making the choice not to do a compulsive behavior after seeing the things that make a person anxious. This method has been shown to be very effective; the people who benefit from this treatment usually see their anxieties decrease 60-80%.
-Medicine: some of the best medicines that have shown to help OCD are Luvox®, Prozac®, and Zoloft®.
If none of these work there are much more drastic options for treatment available the include intensive treatment, brain surgery, and deep brain stimulation.


OCD & other disorders: OCD is often, but not always, accompanied by another disorder. Such disorders commonly include: Depression, eating disorder, substance abuse, personality disorder, or another anxiety disorder. The fact that OCD is usually combined with another disorder makes it difficult to treat.
A study was done in Germany to test the relationship between OCD and Anorexia/Bulimia, 37% of patients also met DSM IV requirements for OCD. Patients who were most improved in their obsessive compulsive behaviors were also the patients to show the most improvement in their eating disorder.

(Description Case Study of person who suffers from OCD, explains what it is, the causes and treatments for OCD)

Celebrities & OCD: (These celebrities claim to have OCD tendencies)

external image howie-mandel-americas-got-talent-agt.jpgHowie Mandel (host of Deal or No Deal) - has been "out of the closet", so to speak, about his OCD for some time. He has a fear of germs and cannot shake the hands of any of his contestants or strangers; instead he offers "fist bumps". He also shaves his head because it helps him feel cleaner.

external image dbeck2.jpgDavid Beckham - Believe it or not, this superstar soccer player falls victim to some senseless obsessions. His closet must be specifically color cordinated and his wife says that David only allows certain foods in the fridge, and if there is an odd number of, for example, coke, he must throw one out to have an even number.

external image michael-jackson-waving-wearing-glasses.jpg

Micheal Jackson - It is rumored that the star has had over 30 cosmetic surgeries. His past wife also claims that Jackson would leave his makeup on all the time, even during sleep. These things suggest that he may have had a disorder closely linked to OCD called Body Dismorphic Disorder, a disorder in which the person focuses on little appearance flaws that really do not exist.

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Cameron Diaz - Diaz says that before she opens a door she rubs the doorknob clean so viciously that afterwards the original paint color has faded. She also admits to cleaning her hands, and her house obsessively.


Howard Hughes.jpgHoward Huges was a billionaire aviator with OCD.Hughes would compulsively say the same phrases over and over again. He even had a fear of germs. He would make his assistants do hand-washing rituals and would make them wear white gloves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zikFDK4cuQA