Obsessive Compulsive Behavior(OCB), Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Most people have obsessive thoughts at one time or another. We worry about if we left the iron on, or the garage door open, or a pot holder on the stove. The thoughts may take over our day until we are finally able to return home and ensure that everything is in order. Maybe you even exhibit compulsive behaviors that you repeat over and over, routines that you cannot stand to have disrupted. This is all perfectly normal, to a point. It is when these thoughts and behaviours cross over into being disruptive to your daily life and relationships, cause you tremendous angst, and use up large parts of your day that you should be concerned about Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior.

Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

The causes of OCB are not fully understood. It often seems to be caused by emotional issues from growing up with authoritarian, demanding parents. It is sometimes genetic and runs in families. There are likely biological issues such as serotonin deficiencies and sometimes a link to brain disorders such as Tourette’s Syndrome. OCB patients often suffer from depression as well.

An estimated 6 million Americans suffer with OCB at some point in their lives. The onset is usually in the teens or early adulthood. An equal number of men and women have it, though the manifestations differ. Women are more often obsessive cleaners, whereas men are more often compulsive checkers.

Some people suffer from obsessive thoughts without any ritual behavior, while others deal with both. Obsessive thoughts are those that are incessant and distressing irrational thoughts that implant a belief in the mind that something bad is going to happen, whether inevitably or as the result of not doing something to perfection. Trying to ignore the thought just intensifies it.

Compulsive behaviors are sometimes added to the thoughts, causing people to perform unproductive rituals in order to prevent something bad from happening. This is often manifested as handwashing, skin picking, counting steps, touching objects in a certain manner, taking certain routes even if it means wasted time, or incessant cleaning. Many sufferers are obsessed with order and symmetry, for instance their shirts must be arranged in a particular color and sleeve length order in the closet or else they feel the whole world is out of sorts. When they are prevented from their ritual in some way, panic ensues. Set patterns of doing things brings safety and order to the world.

Hoarding is another form of OCB and is the belief that if anything is thrown away, then something bad will happen. Checkers are never satisfied that things are secure- they may check the same door and window locks thirty times before calming down enough to go to bed. Handwashers are afraid of contamination and urgently need to wash their hands after touching almost anything in order to prevent some sort of disease from infecting them. Skin, scalp, and nail pickers are often suffering from inner pain, for instance from emotional abuse from a parent, and use the skin picking as a way to take control of outer pain.

All of these compulsive behaviors bring temporary relief but no pleasure. Many patients are able to get OCB symptoms under control, if not eliminated, through Cognitive Behavior Therapy. This involves exposure to triggers in order to learn that nothing bad will happen if some rectification is not made- such as having them touch something they perceive as dirty and keeping them from washing their hands.

Medication is often helpful, as well as therapy to learn new coping skills and substitutions for their negative behaviors. Learning to refocus attention is often key.

About Blog Owner

I am Atanu Majumdar, owner of the blog obesitytips4u.com. HowToReduceObesity covers articles on various obesity, Weight loss, Fitness, Diet topics. If you like This post, you can follow howtoreduceobesity on Twitter or On Facebook Or On Google PlusI am Atanu Majumdar, owner of the blog healthadvice4life.com. Healthadvice4life covers articles on various Health and wellness topics. If you like This post, you can follow healthadvice4life on Twitter or On Facebook Or On Google Plus

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