Mental health is still considered a taboo in several sections of our society and not everyone has the willingness to come to terms with the condition and speak about it or seek professional help.
One such common condition that is often mistaken as a pursuit for perfection, is OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Studies indicate that close to 2% of our population suffer from OCD.
Pune365 spoke to city experts to understand the intricacies of this condition and seek their advise on tackling it effectively:
“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is assumed to be a secretive illness and people don’t like mentioning it publicly. Till the 1970’s it was thought to be a very rare illness but later, the National Institute of Mental Health found that around 1-2% of people have OCD,” says Dr Manish Bajpayee, leading city psychiatrist.
This starts when we are an adolescent and make us believe that touching something will bring good luck, or is an omen.
It is an irrational thought which is created by us and causes a lot of anxiety, hence we do something (in action) by which we reduce our anxiety.
It is obsession which forms an image and followed by compulsion to reduce the anxiety, hence the name Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
It could be actions like washing hands multiple times, checking keys or wallets repeatedly, checking house or car locks multiple times, washing vegetables more than it is needed, repeatedly cleaning the house etc.
It is now quite common because everyone has an OCD like fixation and this is part of our general lifestyle.
Yet, when it becomes excessive, it leads to other mental dis-functioning like loneliness, schizophrenia, bipolarity, social phobia, panic and often depression that can range from mild to very severe.
It is not perfection when something is done in excess, it is an irrational thought that makes them to do an action again and again and spend too much time on it. Over a period of time, they are unable to control it and this is when they should consult a specialist,” adds Dr Bajpayee.
For mild OCD, cognitive behaviour therapy and response prevention techniques can be taught. For severe cases, the symptoms can be reduced by taking antidepressant and medications, as prescribed by mental health specialists.
How do I determine if I am actually suffering from OCD and need to keep a check on my actions and seek professional help, asks Reena Singh, a city student. There are many people who find that they dealing with an obsessive compulsive disorder and will look to clinics similar to Renewed Freedom Center to get support and treatment.
“OCD consists of two things, basically repetitive thoughts and repetitive actions and neither of which we have any control over,” explains Parth Kalia, a city based Integrative Therapist.
He further explains that, “If you find yourself forcibly doing some particular action and you cannot stop yourself, or it causes too much stress to force yourself to stop and this interferes in your daily life, it could be a OCD issue.
If it’s interrupting your sleeping patterns, eating habits, lifestyle, work, school, college, then it is certainly time to pay attention to it.
“OCD tends to be fairly prominent, ie. If you have these symptoms, they will impact your life in some way or the other. It can be noticed fairly quickly when it starts to develop.
Generally counselling and talk therapy is the way to go, although some medication is considered effective in severe cases.”
Drawing a line between being a perfectionist and someone with OCD, Kalia says, “There is a thin line to draw between being organised and being an OCD patient.
An organised person will organise their day to life, make a plan and go back and finally execute that plan. Whereas, someone with OCD will start over planning and over thinking so much, that it interferes with the actual doing or the execution.
So essentially, they spend more time planning and less time doing it and are unable to do other things.
“When it comes to OCD, it is a challenge to handle it individually and even the low severity version can be a bit difficult, so I would advise that it is best to get a consultation.
One of the common things we find is that anxiety and stress or depression can often accompany these things too.
As psychologists, we deal with something called bio-psycho-social model. Every mental illness or disorder affects our biology, psychology and it affects our social life as well.
“Having a good support system like a social network of friends and family helps. Also, good physical health also contributes to good mental health,” Kalia adds.
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