Obsessive compulsive disorder

OCD; Repetitive, repetitive and disturbing thoughts, images or impulses that cause anxiety in the person called obsessions, and mental acts consisting of repetitive behaviors or mental actions done to reduce the anxiety caused by these disturbing thoughts called compulsions or to protect and avoid the feared consequences. is a disease. Studies conducted in recent years reveal that OCD is not an obvious cause, but its prevalence in the community is 2-3 out of every 100 people. Although the age of onset is generally between 18-24 years, it can be seen at any age, including preschool children.

In obsessive-compulsive disorder, the patient has obsessions and/or compulsions. Most patients have both obsessions and compulsions. Typical obsessions include contamination with germs or dirt, poisoning, fears of harming oneself or others, and thoughts of doing something undesirable. Compulsions are made to protect the person or their relatives from situations that they think may result in disaster such as death, illness, bad luck. These compulsions, which are called rituals, can be visible behaviors or mental rituals that are carried out in a covert way.

We can also think of OCD as a “thought phobia”. Thoughts that are not inherently scary or that can come to anyone’s mind are associated with feelings such as anxiety in people with OCD and are disturbing. Studies have shown that thoughts similar to obsessions in terms of content are also seen in 90% of the population without a diagnosis of OCD. This finding revealed that compulsive thoughts are common in the normal population and their content is not different from the thought content in OCD. The difference between compulsive thoughts that are considered normal and obsessive thoughts has to do with the meaning given to these thoughts. The coming to mind of such thoughts creates anxiety in the individual, and the individual develops escape or avoidance behaviors to avoid anxiety. These escape/avoidance behaviors act as a kind of reinforcement by reducing anxiety for a short time and the person continues these behaviors. Being afraid of a thought differs from being afraid of an object (for example, a dog) in that avoiding a thought is more difficult than avoiding an object. In fact, the patient’s trying not to think of such thoughts causes him to think the same thought more often, and as with all phobias, it is these avoidance behaviors that cause the continuation of the disease.

It is known that about 80% of people with OCD do not get better without help. Although drugs are used to help reduce the frequency of obsessions and the stress caused by them, cognitive behavioral therapy, which is considered one of the most successful psychological treatment methods for obsessive problems, is frequently used. If you have such obsessions and/or compulsions that affect your daily life and reduce your quality of life, you can consult a psychologist and get professional support.

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