Sunday, February 8, 2009

men"s emotional health...Obsessive behaviour

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by an inability to resist or stop continuous, abnormal thoughts or fears combined with ritualistic, repetitive and involuntary defense behavior.
Infatuated-compulsive behaviour
Worries, doubts and superstitious rituals are part of life, but for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), these fears simply take over. Work, social life and relationships all have to take second place.

What are the symptoms?

There are (so far) no reliable clinical tests for this condition, so the diagnosis depends on accurately identifying symptoms. An interesting 'diagnostic questionnaire' is available - but, of course, the condition should only be formally diagnosed and treated by a specialist.
Cars, sex and football may be compelling - but these pleasurable interests are never part of clinical OCD. People with OCD suffer from more mundane compulsions: things like repeated and stereotyped checking, counting, ordering or cleaning. Obsessive thoughts are sometimes distressingly violent or obscene.
OCD sufferers carry out compulsive rituals to such extremes that they interfere with normal living. It's normal, for example, to double-check that the gas fire has been turned off, and the front door locked, before you go to bed. But it's not normal to have to wash your hands 20 or 30 times a day in a rigid routine. Likewise, it's not normal to clean the house so thoroughly that you wear out the wallpaper, or to start meticulously setting the table for Christmas dinner in late September.

unpleasantly repetitive thoughts, images, or impulses coming from the patient's own mind
the thoughts are recognised as being silly or inappropriate
the obsessions are resisted unsuccessfully (at least initially)
the thought of carrying out the act isn't pleasurable in itself
present on most days for at least two weeks.

What causes OCD?
Freudians thought of OCD routines as a psychological defence against increased anxiety, and this is probably true in normal situations. Many of us would triple-check we had our passports before leaving on holiday, or have little mental routines we carry out before sitting exams.
But it seems that true, clinical OCD is a form of biological mental illness. It has a tendency to run in families, often occurs with other conditions such as depression and anxiety, and researchers have linked it to brain changes seen in specialised brain scans.


Untreated OCD tends to get better over time without treatment, but most people benefit from the group of antidepressants called SSRIs. This includes drugs such as sertraline or paroxetine. As with depression, it can take two to four weeks for the drug to have effect, and improvement may continue for several weeks or months after that.

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