Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which a person has an obsession with certain ideas or things, such as cleanliness, and a compulsion to do something about that obsession. If you’ve watched the television show Monk you know what OCD is, but while the Monk character is funny to watch, living with OCD is miserable.
OCD symptoms can also include depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and other anxiety disorders, to name a few possible complications.
Fortunately, behavioral therapy with a good therapist can greatly reduce the symptoms of OCD. While behavioral therapy takes time, and any type of behavior change must be gradually turned into a long-term habit, this type of therapy can make a tremendous difference in the life of a person with OCD.
Anti-anxiety medications can also make a tremendous difference in reducing OCD behaviors, compulsions and obsessions. Many people find that the medications are like putting a board over a hole they used to fall into on their way to work. With the medication and the therapy, they are able to live normal lives and be free of their crushing OCD symptoms.
Unfortunately, OCD does not seem to be something that gets permanently cured and does not recur, but long-term benefits from behavioral therapy and anti-anxiety medications show that symptoms can get better, and stay better, as long as the behaviors learned in therapy are continued. The medication may remain necessary or be phased out gradually as therapy helps the OCD symptoms.
The main thing to keep in mind is that if you or someone you know has OCD, you do not have to continue to suffer from this horrible and debilitating illness. There is help available for OCD, and if you believe you have OCD, talking to your physician can help you get started on the way to relief.