Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a potentially disabling condition that can persist throughout a person's life. An individual who suffers from OCD becomes trapped in a pattern of repetitive thoughts and behaviors that are irrational and upsetting but extremely difficult to overcome. OCD occurs in a spectrum from mild to severe, but if a severe case goes untreated, it can destroy a person's ability to function at work, school, or even in the home. In OCD, it is as though the brain gets stuck on a particular thought or urge and just can't let go. My research will focus on three main aspects of Obsessive-compulsive disorder: 1) What causes it, 2) What are the symptoms, and 3) What are the treatments that can curb its sometimes debilitating effects.

OCD can start at any time from preschool age to adulthood. One third to one half of adults with OCD report that it started during childhood. Unfortunately, OCD often goes unrecognized. On average, people with OCD see three to four doctors and spend over 9 years seeking treatment before they receive a correct diagnosis. Studies have also found that it takes an average of 17 years from the time OCD begins for people to obtain appropriate treatment. OCD tends to be under diagnosed and under treated for a number of reasons. People with the disorder may be secretive about their symptoms or lack insight about their illness. Many healthcare providers are not familiar with the symptoms or are not trained in providing the appropriate treatments. Some people may not have access to treatment resources. This is unfortunate since earlier diagnoses and proper treatment, including finding the right medications, can help people avoid the suffering associated with OCD the suffering associated with OCD and lessen the risk of developing other problems, such as depression or marital and work problems.

Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Inherited? No specific genes for OCD have yet been identified, but research...
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