OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER(OCD)

INTRODUCTION

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.

  • You may try to ignore or stop your obsessions, but that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts to try to ease your stress. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts or urges, they keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behavior — the vicious cycle of OCD.

  • OCD often centers around certain themes — for example, an excessive fear of getting contaminated by germs. To ease your contamination fears, you may compulsively wash your hands until they're sore and chapped.

CAUSE


Genetic causes

  • OCD runs in families and can be considered a “familial disorder.” The disease may span generations with close relatives of people with OCD significantly more likely to develop OCD themselves.

Autoimmune causes

  • Some rapid-onset cases of OCD in children might be consequences of Group A streptococcal infections, which cause inflammation and dysfunction in the basal ganglia.

  • These cases are grouped and referred to as pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections.

Behavioral causes

  • The behavioral theory suggests that people with OCD associate certain objects or situations with fear. They learn to avoid those things or learn to perform “rituals” to help reduce the fear. This fear and avoidance or ritual cycle may begin during a period of intense stress, such as when starting a new job or just after an important relationship comes to an end.

  • Once the connection between an object and the feeling of fear becomes established, people with OCD begin to avoid that object and the fear it generates, rather than confronting or tolerating the fear.

Neurological cause

  • Brain imaging techniques have allowed researchers to study the activity of specific areas of the brain, leading to the discovery that some parts of the brain are different in people with OCD when compared to those without.

  • Despite this finding, it is not known exactly how these differences relate to the development of OCD.

  • Imbalances in the brain chemicals serotonin and glutamate may play a part in OCD

Environmental causes

  • Environmental stressors may be a trigger for OCD in people with a tendency toward developing the condition.

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) in adolescents and children has also been associated with an increased risk of onset of obsessive-compulsions. One study found that 30 percent of children aged 6 to 18 years who experienced a TBI developed symptoms of OCD within 12 months of the injury.

  • Overall, studies indicate that people with OCD frequently report stressful and traumatic life events before the illness begins.

SYMPTOMS/CLINICAL PRESENTATION


Obsession symptoms

OCD obsessions are repeated, persistent and unwanted thoughts, urges or images that are intrusive and cause distress or anxiety. You might try to ignore them or get rid of them by performing a compulsive behavior or ritual. These obsessions typically intrude when you're trying to think of or do other things.

Obsessions often have themes to them, such as:

  • Fear of contamination or dirt

  • Doubting and having difficulty tolerating uncertainty

  • Needing things orderly and symmetrical

  • Aggressive or horrific thoughts about losing control and harming yourself or others

  • Unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects

Examples of obsession signs and symptoms include:

  • Fear of being contaminated by touching objects others have touched

  • Doubts that you've locked the door or turned off the stove

  • Intense stress when objects aren't orderly or facing a certain way

  • Images of driving your car into a crowd of people

  • Thoughts about shouting obscenities or acting inappropriately in public

  • Unpleasant sexual images

  • Avoidance of situations that can trigger obsessions, such as shaking hands

Compulsion symptoms

OCD compulsions are repetitive behaviors that you feel driven to perform. These repetitive behaviors or mental acts are meant to reduce anxiety related to your obsessions or prevent something bad from happening. However, engaging in the compulsions brings no pleasure and may offer only a temporary relief from anxiety.

You may make up rules or rituals to follow that help control your anxiety when you're having obsessive thoughts. These compulsions are excessive and often are not realistically related to the problem they're intended to fix.

As with obsessions, compulsions typically have themes, such as:

  • Washing and cleaning

  • Checking

  • Counting

  • Orderliness

  • Following a strict routine

  • Demanding reassurance

Examples of compulsion signs and symptoms include:

  • Hand-washing until your skin becomes raw

  • Checking doors repeatedly to make sure they're locked

  • Checking the stove repeatedly to make sure it's off

  • Counting in certain patterns

  • Silently repeating a prayer, word or phrase

RISK FACTOR

  • Family history. Having parents or other family members with the disorder can increase your risk of developing OCD.

  • Stressful life events. If you've experienced traumatic or stressful events, your risk may increase. This reaction may, for some reason, trigger the intrusive thoughts, rituals and emotional distress characteristic of OCD.

  • Other mental health disorders. OCD may be related to other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorders, depression, substance abuse or tic disorders.

COMPLICATION

  • Excessive time spent engaging in ritualistic behaviors

  • Health issues, such as contact dermatitis from frequent hand-washing

  • Difficulty attending work, school or social activities

  • Troubled relationships

  • Overall poor quality of life

  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior

HOMOEOPATHIC THERAPEUTICS

1. Arsenicum Album: For Persistent Thoughts of Death

Arsenicum Album is the top natural medicine for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with persistent thoughts of approaching death. Arsenicum Album is of great help for patients of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who have persistent thoughts of death and thus take no medicine, as they think that their death is very near and at this stage taking any medicine is of no use. Such patients need people around them and cannot remain alone because they feel worse when alone. The thoughts of death accompanied by extreme restlessness, where the patient jumps out of bed and moves here and there with anxiety, can also be treated with natural Homeopathic medicine Arsenicum Album.

2. Argentum Nitricum: For Impulsive Thoughts

Argentum Nitricum is the best natural medicine for treating patients of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who have persistent impulsive thoughts. These impulsive thoughts can have different symptom presentations like while travelling in a train the persistent impulsive thought is to jump out of the window; while crossing a bridge over a river, the constant thought is to jump into the river or when standing on high buildings, there is the horrific thought of jumping down. Another marked feature for recommending natural Homeopathy remedy Argentum Nitricum for patients of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is that the impulsive thoughts make the patient very anxious and restless. This results in extreme and constant walking to get rid of such impulsive thoughts and the person walks till all strength of body is lost.

4. Natrum Muriaticum – For Compulsion to Check Locked Doors Repeatedly

Natrum Muriaticum is the best natural remedy for those patients of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who are obsessed with the idea that thieves may strike and repeatedly check the locks of doors. The obsession is so persistent that the patient even has dreams of thieves in the house and wakes up to check the doors again and again.

5. Syphilinum and Medorrhinum – Where there is Compulsion to Washing Hands

Syphilinum and Medorrhinum are very good natural medicines for patients of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who feel the compulsion to wash their hands again and again due to the persistent thought of getting their hands contaminated or dirty by touching any object. Such patients feel that germs are present on each and every object and get into the habit of washing hands at very short intervals, without giving any consideration to other important work in their lives.

6. Silicea – Where there are Thoughts of Pins

Silicea is the ideal natural treatment for patients of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who have the persistent thought of pins and fearing pins, look for, collect and even count pins again and again.

7. Calcarea Carbonica – For Persistent thought of Going Mad or Insane

Calcarea Carbonica is a natural medicine of great help for patients of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who are mentally exhausted and constantly think of going mad or insane. This thought of going mad prevails in the patient’s mind day and night and he or she is unable to put it aside even during sleep. This fear of going mad leads to great distress and to overcome it, the patient leaves all pending work aside and keeps himself or herself busy in breaking sticks or bending pins.