We meet these people almost everyday; people who cannot seem to get enough out of doing a certain activity or habit over and over again, mostly out of the need to achieve perfection or because of a fear of something. We often laugh at people who are like this and call them OCD, or obsessive compulsive.
Unfortunately, being obsessive compulsive is a disorder.
How does a person have OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder? Some experts say OCD is something that is genetic. That is, if a child’s father or any immediate member of the family has OCD, the child is likely to have it, too, although probably not in the same strain. For instance, an older family member might have an OCD that is related to an unexplainable fear of germs. The younger does not necessarily have it but may have an OCD affliction that is related to the need to see things in proper order all the time.
OCD is called such because, first, it is an obsession. Obsessions are ideas or thoughts that run through our minds repeatedly. Though we may be aware of their repetitive nature and decide that we do not want them around, we do not have the capacity to control and shelve them. There are some people who have OCD who experience ‘obsession’ once in a while. However, there are others whose obsessive feelings and thoughts are felt 24/7.
Second, OCD is a compulsion. By compulsion, we are referring to the acts or behaviors that people assume in order to get rid of the fear or anxiety over a certain obsession. More often than not, these compulsions are grounded on a set of personal predetermined rules, which must be followed with full accuracy and precision. A person who has OCD is very keen with detail, especially during an ‘attack’.
Take for example a person whose OCD nature is the insane fear of germs. Because he or she thinks that germs are everywhere and that he or she needs to be rid of them all the time, he or she might repeatedly wash his or her hands or clean up. The obsession occupied the mind over and over ; thus, the compulsion to take repeated action. It is believed that by performing the compulsions, the fear and anxiety brought by the obsession to our heads, the nervous feelings are assuaged. However, this can only be so for a short period. After a while, the fear resumes and the compulsion worsens.
OCD is actually more common than we think. Some people like to just dismiss it as nothing, thinking that it would eventually correct itself in the long run. Some even find this a laughing matter because, well, repetition does seem funny at times. However, OCD is a serious problem and should be addressed immediately.
Some OCD sufferers are given medication to help control their thought processes. How effective these drugs are remains questionable, though, because people diagnosed with OCD and took the necessary drugs, often find themselves returning back to their usual OCD state after a while. Another treatment used is cognitive behavioral therapy, which is actually more effective because it compels the person to decide for himself or herself that something needs to be done if he or she truly wants to end the disorder. The second method can take a while, but it has been found to be more effective, as opposed to drug taking (which can just have a placebo effect).
OCD is a problem that is not very visible and obvious until it has escalated into a full blown rose. When this happens, people are often confined to a home to be more closely examined. However, while OCD is something that needs our attentions, the good thing about it is that it does not kill us, at least, not deliberately. And while it is an issue for many people today, the fact remains that it can be cured – and that’s all that really matters.