Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a disorder in which repetitive, obsessive or compulsive (compulsive action) is seen, which significantly affects the daily functions of the person.

What is Obsession and Compulsion?

Obsession is thoughts that come against the will of the person, cannot be removed from his/her mind, cause a significant anxiety, repeat and disturb the person. Compulsions are repetitive behaviours or mental actions to take these thoughts away from the mind and reduce the anxiety it causes.

Obsessions and compulsions are usually seen together, but obsessions can rarely be seen alone. In some cases, in order to eliminate the anxiety caused by obsessions, the person does not engage in a specific behaviour and tries to eliminate his/her anxiety by mental actions such as counting numbers and trying not to say a specific word.

Frequent obsessions And Compulsions Are

Infection Obsession and Cleaning Compulsion

Contains a compelling belief that the person will be contaminated with factors such as germs, dirt, etc. People with contamination obsession may exhibit compulsive behaviours such as excessive cleaning or avoidance behaviours such as moving away from environments that they think will be contaminated.

Doubt Obsession and Control Compulsion

It involves the thought of not being sure if a job has been done. The person constantly doubts whether the conditions necessary for the safety of himself/herself and his/her relatives are complete and checks every job he/she does to eliminate this concern. For example, checking the door, window, iron and natural gas again and again.

Obsessions with Sexual Content

It includes sexual thoughts of the person towards himself or others. Obsessions may be associated with sexual themes that are considered embarrassing and unacceptable. Often sexual thoughts about one’s gender or children arise. As a result, these obsessions are accompanied by control and washing compulsions.

Religious Obsessions

It includes one’s thoughts perceived as unacceptable to religious and moral values. It may vary according to culture. It can be seen frequently especially in the segments of society with intense religious beliefs.

Symmetry/Order Obsessions and Compulsions

Contains one’s thoughts that everything should be organized and symmetrical. People with this obsession exhibit compulsive behaviours such as regulation, which causes them to lose a lot of time.

Additionally, aggression or harmful obsessions, touch, count, accumulation and storage compulsions are also seen.

*Many people are interested in issues such as regularity, cleanliness, religious and moral values, accuracy and security at a level that cannot be considered as a disease. However, in order for us to say that these people have obsessive-compulsive disorder, the symptoms must lead to a deterioration in the interpersonal relationship and professional functionality of the person.

What are the causes of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Although the cause of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not exactly certain, genetic causes, environmental factors, impaired brain functions, childhood traumas, personality traits are emphasized.

Genetic causes: As a result of the researches, obsessive-compulsive disorder is thought to be genetically transmitted since it is frequently encountered in first or second degree relatives of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Environmental factors: Some environmental events that cause stress (losses, difficulties in social life, and problems in close relationships) cause the person to develop obsessive-compulsive disorder, while others affect the worsening of the course of the disease.

Neurobiological Causes: A connection was found between the decrease in serotonin levels from chemicals called neurotransmitters that provide internerve transmission in the brain and OCD development. In addition, obsessive-compulsive disorder is thought to be associated with neurological disorders such as epileptic seizures, head trauma, brain tumors, developmental disorders and multiple sclerosis.

Childhood traumas: It is thought that obsessive-compulsive disorder occurs after the stress experience of individuals exposed to childhood traumas in their future lives.

Personality traits: There are researches on the tendency to develop obsessive-compulsive disorder in people whose personality structure is meticulous, detailed, and normative and perfectionist.

How often and who does it occur?

According to studies, the lifetime prevalence of obsessive-compulsive disorder was found to be 2-3%. Adolescence and youth are the most risky periods; however, they can be seen at any age, including preschool children. Although it starts at an earlier age in males, it is more apparent in females.

How is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treated in Turkey?

Every obsessive thought and repetitive behaviour that comes to mind may not be a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder. When these thoughts and actions lead to significant loss of function in one’s family, occupation and social life and affect the quality of life, one should seek help from the expert. Although Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a disease that is rare to recover without professional help and can continue with increases and decreases, treatment rates are quite good compared to many other diseases. Treatment takes a long time, but starting treatment early, continuing it decisively and ensuring its follow-up will increase the efficiency of the treatment. Drugs and psychotherapy are used together or separately depending on the course, severity and duration of the disease.

Especially antidepressant drugs called serotonin reuptake inhibitors have a very important role in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Although some people experience side effects such as mild nausea, headache, and drowsiness in the first days of starting the drug, the drug should be continued to contribute to the treatment. Additionally, medication should not be discontinued without consulting a doctor, even if the healing process is initiated to prevent recurrence of symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Cognitive behavioural therapy plays an important role in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder with psychotherapy. The main goal is to eliminate the compulsions that the person develops to reduce anxiety with anxiety-inducing obsessions. For this, it is ensured to cope with compulsions by helping the person develop functional thoughts instead of stereotyped, distorted, automated thoughts (basic thoughts and beliefs) that cause obsessions. Relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviours are discussed in therapy.

Bu sayfadaki bilgiler Moodist Psikiyatri ve Nöroloji Hastanesi Medikal Ekibi tarafından hazırlanmıştır.

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