The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disease that is framed within the Anxiety Disorders, within the specialty of psychology. However, it does not manifest itself directly with physical or psychological symptoms, either in the form of state or attacks.
What is OCD
The characteristic are the obsessions, which can be ideas or representations that appear in the mind of the person and that this one considers absurd or exaggerated. If one tries to remove them from the head, a great anxiety or compulsions appear, which are repetitive acts and are related to the ideas.
For example, there is the idea of being contaminated, which leads the person to wash countless times without being able to set limits.
Difference between OCD and mania
From the psychiatric point of view, mania is a disease within the bipolar disorder characterized by euphoria, hyperactivity, disinhibition and verbosity.
There are other meanings in popular language, such as having an aversion to someone or being very meticulous. In the latter case, the person can be restrained without the appearance of the anguish mentioned above.
Causes of OCD
As in all Mental Disorders, the causes are biopsychosocial. There is a genetic component, although it is not as pervasive as for example in Bipolar Disorder. It is true that children of parents with OCD or obsessive personality are more at risk of presenting the disease, but cohabitation usually has a greater influence.
It is postulated, as in depression, alteration of monoamines in the central nervous system, especially serotonin (in major depression the alteration may also refer to Noradrenaline or Dopamine).
There are also personality factors, especially character types with a tendency to excessive worry, hyperexigency, rationalization, etc..
Finally, there are family coexistence factors, as mentioned above, and highly demanding work or social environments. In these cases the disorder is usually precipitated if the personality traits predispose.
Symptoms of OCD
Apart from the essential symptoms already described: thoughts, representations (for example, visualizing the genitals of saints) and compulsions, there are usually strong feelings of guilt, tendency to depressive symptoms, and may present an accompanying major depressive disorder, suicidal ideation, sleep disorders, etc.
Due to the main symptoms, the person tends to isolate more and, in many occasions, these interfere with the activities especially if they are more of thinking than manual.
Can Obsessive Compulsive Disorder be cured?
The earlier the treatment, the greater the chances of cure. If this is not the case, there are improvements but they are not usually complete and there is a tendency to chronicity.
The treatment is on the one hand biological: if it is a matter of ideas or representations, antidepressants acting on Serotonin, for example fluoxetine, escitalopram, are very useful. If compulsions appear, it is necessary to combine them with drugs used for psychosis in small doses such as Olanzapine, Aripiprazole, Haloperidol, etc..
Regarding psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, psychodramatic psychotherapy are useful. The application of 3rd generation psychotherapies such as mindfulness or others is under study. Orthodox psychoanalysis is not appropriate given the patient’s tendency to rationalize.