Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder which includes unwanted thoughts and repetitive behavior like hand washing, counting, cleaning or checking. These rituals provide temporary relief and if they are not performed, anxiety is increased. If you have OCD, you have repeated upsetting thoughts known as obsessions. You perform the same thing repeatedly – this is compulsive behavior. Examples are a fear of being hurt. It tends to run in families.

Causes of OCD

Doctors are not absolutely sure of the causes of OCD. People believe that all anxiety disorders are associated with feeling a lack of control that go back to insecure attachments in childhood. This insecure attachment can produce changes in the brain and may happen to generations in one family. OCD is known to be a medical disorder and is not the fault of a person with a weak or unstable personality.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of OCD include turning the lights or the stove off or locking the door, lacking will power when it comes to shopping, compulsive gamblers or substance abuse. When alcohol or tobacco is a part of your life, you feel anxiety and you are compelled to use them even though they are harmful. You could be a compulsive worker without a break or a compulsive eater or exerciser.

Prevention

Early treatment can prevent future problems. Watch for symptoms of OCD and prevent a relapse by sticking to your therapy and taking medicines that are prescribed. Take care of yourself and involve family members in your treatment. Communicate with your family and loved ones. Reduce stress in your life. Take slow, deep breaths. Listen to soothing music and soak yourself in a warm bath. Try yoga, eat a balanced diet and stick to an exercise routine.

Treatment

Apart from medication which you can discuss with your doctor, there are types of counseling available that could be effective in treating OCD. Treatment includes a combination of professional counseling and medicines. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe both counseling and an anti-depressant. You may be asked to write down a list of rituals and then expose yourself to each obsession in order to overcome them.

Treatment Centers

The obsessive compulsive disorder hospitalization program at treatment centers offer treatment for children, adolescents and adults. A strict cognitive behavioral (exposure and ritual prevention) approach is used. Medication will be supervised. The treatment team includes a Masters level therapist, a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker and registered nurse. After six sessions over a four month period, follow-ups are conducted over the phone.