OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER; A MENTAL ILLNESS, AND ITS TREATMENT
Have you ever had an experience with someone who is constantly doing something or taking an action consistently such as constantly cleaning the environment that he or she stays in, be it the workplace, house etc, constantly checking if things are put in their rightful places or doors are properly closed especially during the nights, such that it has become part of their everyday life making them feel uneasy if these things are not constantly done or are checked? You right away described the person as being weird right?
These people with such behaviours are sometimes given names such as cleaning freaks, weirdos, especially at work places and in schools. These people more often than not are often described as having a problem with their mental health which is not false.
People sometimes leave their relationships as well when the partner exhibit such behaviours because they have the mind that they are weird.
I once heard a story of a lady who had to leave her relationship not because she didn’t love his guy but because the guy was a cleaning freak, always had his things orderly arranged and usually there were series of arguments between them when things were not in order as he will like it be. The lady had no option than to be back off because she thought her partner was being weird and related it mental illness.
Ever heard of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? People with such behaviours do not put on such behaviours out of their own free will. These behaviours that they put on may be as a result of a mental illness called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, usually referred to as OCD.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness that causes repeated unwanted thoughts or sensations(obsessions) or the urge to do something over and over again (compulsions). Some people can either have obsessions or compulsions or both. Having OCD isn’t about habits like always scratching your hair, biting your fingernails or having negative thoughts rather, one may exhibit behaviours which may be constantly the stove 20 times to make sure it’s really turned off because you are terrified of burning down your house, or wash your hands until they are raw for fear of germs.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterised by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions), such as fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others. Fear of losing control and harming yourself or others, fear of losing control and harming yourself or others or the need to arrange objects in a specific manner. One may not want to have these thoughts or ideas, but can’t stop them such that it becomes time consuming and they interfere with your daily life.
These behaviours could lead to compulsive behaviours and could last for years. Symptoms usually begin gradually and vary throughout life. OCD often begins in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, regardless of gender, social or cultural background. The average age symptoms appear in age nineteen (19).
There are categories of OCDs that most people with OCD fall under which are;
Washers: these people are normally afraid of contamination and they usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsion.
Checkers: people with OCD who fall under this category repeatedly check things such as oven turned off, door locked, etc) that they associate with harm o danger.
Doubters And Sinners are afraid that if everything isn’t perfect or done just right, something terrible will happen, or they will be punished.
Counters And Arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry. They may have superstitions about certain numbers, colours, or arrangements.
Hoarders fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They compulsively hoard things that they don’t need or use. They may also suffer from other disorders such as depression, compulsive buying, kleptomania or skin picking.
However, having obsessive thoughts or performing compulsive behaviours does not mean you have obsessive compulsive disorder. Obsessive thoughts and behaviours may cause distress, time consuming and have interference with one’s daily life and relationships when it comes to Compulsive Obsessive Disorder. Many people with OCD however do not realize that the distressing thoughts they go through are not something that they can control.
Persons with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) would want to find ways to stop which will help them stop having OCD thoughts, person(s) suffering from such mental illness can join support groups, undergo various forms of therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, a talk therapy which focuses on helping individuals cope with and change problematic thoughts, behaviours and emotions, Rational emotive behaviour therapy; a psychological treatment that helps people change negative, irrational thoughts and improve emotional well-being as well as undergo psychotherapy to help minimize obsessive thoughts.
Antidepressant medicine can also help by altering the balance of chemicals in the brain.
Individuals, work partners, family members and relationship partners can have a big impact on the recovery of a person with OCD and should therefore resist from making negative comments or criticisms because such comments could make OCD worse and be patient with them as possible and also stay connected with them so they don’t feel isolated.
FORDJOUR VERA OKYERE
GHANA INSTITUTE OF JOURNALISM