Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the most widespread mental illnesses nowadays. Because of society's prejudices and lack of awareness, OCD is often associated with shame and guilt. This often leads to belated diagnosis and to delay in treatment. A plethora of different methods of OCD identification and the symptoms examination have been developed, as well as effective drug and psychological treatments. The article Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder focuses on different aspects of the illnesses, methods of its detection and treatment, and discusses the convenience of further OCD research.
According to the article, OCD might occur throughout the individual's lifespan with no particular age distinction. Sometimes, symptoms occur in early and sometimes in old age. The majority of adults diagnosed with OCD experienced their first symptoms in adolescence. One of the main drawbacks of the disorder is that the individuals diagnosed with it are often unable to lead a normal life in the society (Heyman, Mataix-Cols Fineberg, 2006). The paper clearly shows that because many people not yet diagnosed with the disorder think that the nature of their repetitive behaviors and intrusive thoughts are useless and not important, they often decide not to go to the doctor and feel ashamed because of their disability. Therefore, quite often it takes a long time to diagnose the disease and start treatment. In order to change and improve the situation, the increase of society's awareness is needed so that people would not feel ashamed to talk about this disability, and doctors would be able opportunely detect it and start treatment (Heyman, Mataix-Cols Fineberg, 2006).
Symptoms of Obsessive-compulsive Disorder
It is very useful to know that OCD is usually defined by the presence of several obsessions or compulsions throughout a certain period that usually originate in patient's mind and are repetitive and unpleasant in nature. It is significant that the prior studies that have noted that even though the symptoms may vary from patient to patient, their nature is the same patients are preoccupied with unwanted ideas, thoughts and behaviors. According to the article, the most common obsessions include fear of harming someone or oneself; fear of contamination; obsessions with sexuality or religion; need for symmetry or precision; fear of unacceptable behavior and/or making mistakes. It is significant that the behaviors usually associated with OCD usually include compulsive cleaning; severe hand washing; ordering and arranging of things; requests of reassurance (Heyman, Mataix-Cols Fineberg, 2006). These compulsive repetitive behaviors usually follow certain mental rules, and are aimed at neutralizing the anxieties that are provoked by the OCD. Patients never enjoy this kind of behaviors, but they are of the great help in the process of diagnosing the disorder. In order to get clearer view of the problem, doctors should be able to ask correct and precise questions that would help them to detect the possible symptoms and their frequency. One of the main problems in diagnosing the OCD is that patients often do not think that they are ill and do not perceive the symptoms as such (Heyman, Mataix-Cols Fineberg, 2006).
After the symptoms are distinguished and the diagnosis is set, it is important to distinguish the severity of the impairment and to select a convenient treatment. Usually it is recommended to introduce the care gradually and to increase the intensity of treatment with time adjusting it to the patient's needs. Sometimes, if the OCD condition is not severe, the patient might deal with it on their own, with a little help from the specialist. However, if the disability is manifesting itself with severity, it is better to use the cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). CBT is considered one of the most effective ways to treat OCD (Heyman, Mataix-Cols Fineberg, 2006). The effectiveness of the therapy increases when it is carried out in family settings. One of the methods used within the frame of therapy is exposure. Patient faces his greatest fears and with the help of specialist overcomes them. Anxiety connected with the disease can also be decreased with the help of understanding the mechanisms that trigger it and finding a way to deal with those mechanisms. Upon reflection, it is agreeable that the drug usage in the OCD treatment is justified and efficient. However, it is important to be aware of the drug influence on patient's mind and body and to know about possible effects, and negative consequences. In some OCD cases, it is convenient to combine different ways of treatment in order to achieved greater effect. It is striking that some of researches do not consider OCD to be an anxiety disorder, but rather something different, probably a disorder that combines features that differ from other anxiety disorders. It is important to carry out further research that would help to distinguish other features of the disorder as well as its subtypes, and new methods of treatment (Heyman, Mataix-Cols Fineberg, 2006).
The paper raises awareness of the fact that OCD is a spread and highly undiagnosed mental illnesses that affect people of all ages. There is a clear connection between the social attitude towards the disease and belated diagnosis and treatment. The data presented in the findings shows the current situation concerning the OCD and increases concern towards the ways to help people with OCD. It is striking that so many people are not aware of their symptoms or do not want to go into care because they consider the disease unimportant or shameful. Since so many people are affected by OCD and can not lead a normal life because of it, important that the patient and the family need to be educated and aware of the disease and help with treatment. What is more, individuals, public organizations and health services workers should increase public awareness of the problem and educate the society about it. What is more, due to the dissemination of the disease it is important to educate patients about the care and initial treatment options. Continuing to reflect on the existence of many special programs for OCD patients, it occurs important to inform patients about them. In addition, special care and living arrangements should be provided for patients with severe OCD condition.
Heyman, I., Mataix-Cols, D. Fineberg, N. (2006). Obsessive-compulsive disorder. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 333 (7565), 424.