Sunday, April 13, 2008

Studies Indicate That Stress Worsens Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors

Millions of Americans suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Generally, OCD involves unreasonable obsessions and compulsive mental or physical rituals. Compulsive thoughts could involve a variety of topics, some of the more common thought topics are getting diseases, harming someone accidentally, losing something important, forgetting to turn off an appliance, or locking doors and windows when you leave. Often an OCD sufferer will engage in rituals to help alleviate the stress or worry, such as prayer, checking doors and appliances many times, checking wallets and purses to make sure everything is there, washing of hands and body incessantly, or repeating certain calming words, or even counting things.

Most individuals with OCD suffer great stress and are ashamed of their thoughts and rituals, although they are most often not able to keep them a secret. Consequently, individuals with OCD have often been portrayed as crazy repressed neurotics i.e. Felix Unger of the television show “The Odd Couple”.

Thankfully, medical professionals today know that OCD is not psychosomatic. In fact, current medical standards suggest that OCD is the result of a problem within the brain, which worsens when individuals are under a lot of stress, have an illness, or are tired.

Although treatment of OCD (and other conditions like bipolar disorder) varies, John Hopkins University medical professionals suggest that treatment should consist of behavioral therapy, medication, or even surgery if warranted. OCD is generally treated with antidepressants with an overall success rate of about eighty percent, although it may take some time to find the proper dose of medication. Surgical intervention is a rarity and reserved for the most crippling cases of obsessive compulsive disorder.

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