Articles About OCD from Lori Calabrese, MD | The Ketamine Blog

These articles about OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) are offered to increase understanding and reduce stigma. OCD is a long lasting disorder where a person has recurring, repetitive thoughts and then related compelling behaviors or actions they feel inner pressure to take and repeat over and over…

The Obsessions are thoughts or images that illicit anxiety such as:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted, forbidden, or taboo thoughts involving religion, sex, or harm
  • Aggressive thoughts toward others or self
  • Wanting things to be symmetrical or else in perfect order

Compulsions that follow the thoughts

In response to those obsessive, intrusive thoughts, a person feels pressure within to repetitively take these actions, or perform these behaviors. These behaviors may be

  • Hand washing or extreme and excessive cleaning
  • Arranging things or putting them in a specific order
  • Repetitiously checking something, like the door knob to ensure it’s locked or that the oven or iron are off.  Over and over and over.
  • Compulsively counting and recounting

Now, we all know that checking things, or counting, or handwashing are normal behaviors we all do, but it’s different for someone with OCD. This person:

  • Can’t control his thoughts or behaviors, even if he can tell that what he’s doing is excessive.
  • He still spends at least an hour a day doing these things. Sometimes far more.
  • He doesn’t experience any pleasure from these thoughts or behaviors. However, the thoughts produce anxiety, and performing the behaviors may offer a small relief from it.
  • These behaviors create troubling problems in his daily life

A troubling symptom that affects some people with OCD:

A tic disorder can affect this person in some cases, and can be a motor tic or a vocal tic. In the case of motor tics, the affected person may shrug his shoulders repeatedly, or make a facial grimace, blink his eyes, or jerk his head or shoulder. In each case these are repetitive actions.

Vocal tics include throat clearing, sniffing, and grunting.

All of these symptoms may come and go, may re-emerge in the presence of stress, and may seem normal to children and some adults. However, most adults understand that their behavior is abnormal but feel helpless to control it.

Neuroscience researchers work to find relief for these distressing symptoms.

Because of promising outcomes with IV ketamine combined with mixed results at other times, more studies are being performed.

Cause and Risk Factors

While causes of OCD are unknown, risk factors include genetics, brain structure and functioning, and environment.

As you read these articles about OCD, consider the symptoms and treatments available and we hope you’ll share your understanding with others who suffer.

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