OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder. The syndrome often brings with it unwanted obsession and/or repetition of certain behaviors or compulsions. Repetitive behaviors may include counting, cleaning, hand washing and/or checking. These behaviors are often performed in the hopes of making the obsessions or unwanted thoughts waver. Not performing these rituals can cause a significant increase in anxiety although performing them typically only brings relief temporarily. Those who are diagnosed with OCD and remain untreated may find it difficult to perform daily activities. Left untreated, OCD can take over the life of the patient.
Those suffering with obsessive-compulsive disorder may find themselves constantly plagued by thoughts or images. They may feel the urge the constantly engage in their rituals for relief from these thoughts. Many are obsessed with germs and repeatedly wash their hands, often to the extent of causing damage to their skin.
Treatments for OCD have proven to be very effective in the past and research is being done on an ongoing basis to find new treatments as well. Researchers now believe that those with obsessive-compulsive disorder have circuits in their brains that are not functioning properly. They have also shown studies that suggest OCD can be passed down by family members. Symptoms for this disorder typically begin showing up in the adolescent and teen years.
Scientists now believe that obsessive-compulsive disorder is a neurobiological illness. Those with the disorder have neural pathways in their brains that are affected by serotonin, or the lack thereof. Research being done currently is geared toward determining which pathways and neurobiological systems within the brain are involved. An MRI or magnetic resonance imaging machine may be able to show physicians just which pathways are involved in patients showing signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Those left undiagnosed and untreated may find that they are virtually debilitated from performing even the most minute tasks. Daily lives can be completely halted as a result of OCD. The disorder itself is classified into ranges from mild to severe. Overall, most diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder will need some form of treatment. The two types of treatment currently being used are medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. Although many medications have proven to be effective in helping patients with OCD, many people have shown no response in trials done with medications for the disorder.
Those undergoing clinical testing with MRI tools are expected to show brain activation patterns that will help scientists to more easily understand the biological mechanics that underlie heterogeneity in patients with OCD. Researchers hope that these trials will help them to pioneer newer and better treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder. The goal is in learning more about the disorder and what causes the neurobiological malfunctions in patients diagnosed with the disorder. As new studies are completed, new medications can be proposed that can help patients deal with their unwanted thoughts and compulsions. Medicines used today help many patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, although not all medicines help all patients. New and improved medications would ensure that all sufferers of OCD have a better chance at a more normal life.
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