Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: What it is, cause and treatment

By | June 28, 2011

I took an Internet test tonight and it said I should get checked for OCD. On the test, a score of 8 is “possible”, 12 is “likely” … my score was 27. Hmm… That’s interesting. I guess other people have known this about me, but I never suspected it, not really. I joked about it, but I never really believed it. I’m starting to now.

I don’t have any outwardly bizarre symptoms like repetitive behaviors (hand washing, organizing objects) but I do have times when I get ridiculously worked up about something and, for example, rewrite the same email for an hour or more without being able to stop, obsessing about getting the wording right and consternating about the point that is making me write the email.

Anyway, I’m going to get a real evaluation for this. Might help me chill out when I need to.

Here is more on the brain and OCD, including the cure (remove part of your brain). Oh sure. I’d do that.

…OCD could be due to abnormalities of the frontal lobe, basal ganglia, and cingulum. The function that the basal ganglia are involved with is routine behaviors, like grooming. The frontal lobe is involved with organizing behaviors and in planning. Finally, the cingulum is involved with communication in the brain’s behavioral and emotional messages. Cingulum is comprised of fibrous bands. There has been evidence to support the hypothesis that cingulum is involved with OCD. This evidence is that when the cingulum is surgically severed, the result is that people with OCD are cured of the disorder. 6 What researchers believe is that OCD is caused by problems in communication between the frontal lobe and basal ganglia. 5 When PET scans of people with OCD were compared to PET scans of people without OCD, it was found that those with OCD burned energy more quickly in the frontal lobe and cingulate pathway. The cingulate pathway is made of cingulum, so the cingulate pathway is what connects the frontal lobe to the basal ganglia. The energy that is burned the more severe OCD is. So it is possible that this increased use of energy is the cause of OCD. 7

The other possible cause of OCD is the abnormally low levels of serotonin found in people with OCD. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that sends messages from one nerve to another throughout the brain. The way the neurotransmitter works is that it is released by a nerve ending, known as a synapse, it then crosses a gap and is then picked up by another nerve ending. The serotonin is usually cleaned out of the synapses by enzymes located in the brain. 6 It has been found that drugs that increase the levels of serotonin in the brain reduce the OCD symptoms. Therefore, it is reasonable to deduce that the reduced amount of serotonin inhibits a person’s nerve cells to communicate effectively. 7There are two possible treatments for OCD: psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy CBT is one of the possible treatments of OCD. This type of treatment helps patients internalize a strategy to resist OCD for the rest of their life. The way behavioral therapy works is that it helps people learn to change their thinking and feelings by first changing their behavior. For OCD, behavior therapy involves exposure and response prevention E/RP. The idea behind exposure is that anxiety will go down after being in long enough contact with what the person fears.

A person’s anxiety should decrease after repeated exposure until the fear is gone. The next part of the treatment is the response or ritual prevention RP used in combination with exposure. In RP, the person’s rituals are blocked, so for example, someone who is always concerned about germs is not allowed to washing their hands all of the time. The purpose of this part of treatment is to help decrease compulsive behavior. Cognitive therapy CT is added to E/RP to help reduce the catastrophic thinking and exaggerated sense of responsibility. CT will helps end faulty assumptions made by obsessions. CBT is free of side effect, but all patients undergoing this type of treatment have some type of anxiety. …

via Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: What it is, cause and treatment.

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