OCD is another form of anxiety disorder, in which a person tend to repeat the same actions over and over again. People have recurring thoughts, images or fears they can’t control and are caught in an endless cycle of repeating the same thought or action.
It is as if the two parts of their brain are not connected. One part order the body to do a certain thing, lock the door for example. The other part of the brain does not registers this action. The person is not sure if he did it, or if he did it right and he repeats the action again. But before the repetition accrues, the stress level is building up and leading to anxiety.
Have I locked the door when I left the house? Have I turned off the stove or is the pot left boiling and will burns the house down? Thoughts like that in a constant loop can cause a lot of stress and interfere with normal life. People with OCD are aware of the fact that are repeating the same action but they are powerless to stop themselves.
The fears a person with OCD can range from fear of germs, fear of harming others, fear of being embarrassed in public, fear of thinking bad thoughts, among many others. They need order in their life and any deviation causes anxiety. Compulsion that an OCD person can engage in are excessive washing of hands, refusing to touch door knobs or shake hands, eating food in a certain way and in certain order and being “stuck” on a word, number or phrase without being able to move on.
Doctors believe that the cause of OCD is both physical and environmental. The serotonin levels in the brain are usually low. Low level of serotonin uptake in the brain is thought to be passes from parents to children. Recently researchers found that there might be a link between repeated ear infections in childhood (especially Streptococcus) may lead to OCD later in life.
The treatments for OCD are similar to the treatments for anxiety. Anti depressants that elevate the level of serotonin uptake, psychological therapy and acquired skills that teach the sufferer how to avoid repetition are also helpful. The combination of all three is the best way to help a person suffering from OCD lead a normal and productive life.