O.C.D. – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a strange, serious disease and is much more common than one may think. One to 3% of the population is inflicted with it. The disease has not even spared celebrities like Isaac Newton, Howard Hughs, and Donald Trump. The patients show a spectrum of symptoms ranging from strange anxieties about sex, violence, contamination, and repetitive actions and thoughts like checking doors, stoves, and washing hands.
It is usually triggered during adolescence. Strange thoughts like having murdered a neighbor or being scared of needles, pins, knives and guns or seeing spiders crawling on one’s bed or contracting A.I.D.S. haunt an O.C.D. person. A person with O.C.D., who once attended Paul McCartney’s concert for three hours insisted that he did not see Paul and was only looking at a wall. These thoughts were pestering and haunting him for several days.
Anxiety disorders, such as panic, phobias, fear of exams, are extremely common in modern society. It gives rise to depression, obsessions and compulsions. Patients and close relatives are in denial and think that O.C.D. is a stigma, but coming out of the closet and treating it is desirable.
Modern techniques, such as an Inventory card of symptoms and rating scales such as the Leyton Obsessional Card or Yale/Brown Scale are useful in diagnosing O.C.D.
It has now been established that increased Serotonin turnover contributes to O.C.D. Cerebral disorders may also be a cause.
What are the treatments? A combination of medicines to inhibit Serotonin uptake, and Cognitive behavioral Therapy are recommended for treating O.C.D. patients. Clomipramine, also known as Anafranil or Fluoxetine is effective from the Serotonin abnormalities of this disease. It has very few adverse side effects. Behavioral therapy from an outside agent and support groups are highly useful.
The goal in Behavioral Therapy is not to control the repetitive thoughts, but to control the responses to these thoughts.
The Society still does not treat O.C.D. patients with compassion and understanding. They have a hard time in getting jobs, or retaining them, even if they get them and dating, and/or marriage.
It is an Invisible handicap. The Society has many avenues for physically handicapped persons, but not for such invisible handicaps. O.C.D. patients are constantly criticized for their slowness, lack of focusing, and inability to fuction at the same level as a normal person.
O.C.D. has several other close cousins such as Autism, and Asperger Syndrome, but more about that later.