Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) usually begins at a very early age or mostly during young adult years. It is a mental health disorder, which engages a person’s mind in reoccurring obsessive behavioral patterns. This disorder gives rise to persistent thoughts in them and triggers intense feelings of distress thereby.
Even if they try ignoring the obsessive thoughts by doing some mind-diverting activity, still they won’t be able to get successful at that, as the thought intrudes somehow and the urge to give in intensifies. The severity may differ from one individual to another.
There are several potential causes and risk factors that are responsible for leading to OCD, let us have a look at them.
Factors causing OCD
Researchers are yet to determine the real cause of developing obsessive-compulsive disorder. How one person experiences it may differ from another. The occurrence of OCD in a person may involve more than one factor. Given below are some potential reasons why one develops OCD:
A person might have got OCD through inheritance. It is highly likely that OCD can be a birth defect. An individual with this disorder may have close relatives or family members that have the same problem. The severity of this disorder differs among all the affected individuals. Usually, the risk of developing OCD is greater in first-degree relatives of the OCD-sufferer individual.
Still, there needs to be done a deeper study regarding OCD transfer through inheritance. The genes that are responsible for leading to such obsessive and compulsive behavior are not fully known yet. Children born with distorted genes that cause OCD perhaps may have a close relative with a dormant OCD, which can become active at any point and may or may not be too severe.
OCD can result due to some chemical imbalances that are happening in the brain, which affects cognitive functioning including mental abilities such as problem-solving, thinking, decision-making, learning, remembering, reasoning, and attention. The chemical imbalance gets the person stuck in a loop of repeated behaviors.
In case they try to avoid the behaviors, they experience anxiety. This anxiety builds up even more and becomes worse due to reluctance. However, the urge compels them to give up most of the time and continue doing the same behavior. This may not make any sense to them as to why they are doing what they are doing, but obsession and compulsion force them to do so.
The individual’s obsession can be related to aggression, fear of contamination, sexuality, religion, cleanliness, etc.
Imbalances in brain chemicals can be contributing factors to OCD. It makes the individual gets stuck in ritualistic mental and physical actions. OCD sufferers experience major chemical changes in their brains, which makes them behave in a certain way. Their symptoms may not remain constant, as the condition can get intense at some points and then disappear for some time.
Traumatic life events
Childhood trauma can increase the risk of OCD by triggering obsessions such as unwanted and intrusive images and thoughts, and compulsive behaviors to aid those obsessions. It cannot be firmly stated whether trauma leads to OCD among children, but it can be the potential reason though.
People with poor emotional stability are subject to neuroticism. Such people tend to react to every situation, and they lack emotional intelligence. Because of this kind of personality, they are more prone to extreme emotions such as stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, self-doubt, sadness, and mood swings. Such individuals isolate themselves from the world. Such personality traits can increase the possibility of OCD.
How does OCD affect life?
OCD has a very devastating nature, as it badly impacts the sufferer’s life in every which way. Their mind produces constant triggers that get them stuck in a loop of obsessive and compulsive behaviors and habitual patterns. Indeed, it is a treatable condition, which can be managed very well with the help of therapies and medications.
In case it is left untreated, the symptoms might become worse, and the individual may struggle with day-to-day basic activities due to incredible interference of urges. The behaviors and compulsions will drain the sufferer emotionally as well as physically, which takes up too much of their valuable time. It disturbs their peace majorly.
Treatment for OCD
The symptoms of OCD start during early childhood. One can tell there’s something different about the child, due to their strange behavior. It is easily distinguishable during childhood, as their behavior makes them stand out from the rest. The personality of such children is naturally introverted, and they may avoid social interactions. That does not mean that every child that is shy and introverted has OCD, certain personality traits can help the parents in suspecting something strange about their child.
The good thing is, OCD is a treatable condition. It can be managed with the help of therapy sessions and medications. The therapy involves talking sessions, wherein the therapist asks some deep questions and tries to get the OCD sufferer to answer some queries that are related to their fears and obsessions. Honest communication about fears and obsessions will allow the therapist to tap into the real problem and alleviate the patient’s compulsive behavior.
We have already seen that the imbalance in brain chemicals contributes to OCD. These imbalances can be fixed with the help of antidepressant medications. Such medications can do effective work in managing the triggers and gaining control over behaviors.