Understanding The Basics Of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is best defined as an anxiety disorder which compels people to engage in obsessive behavior that may interfere with their careers and social lives. Further complications can result either from the distractions caused by OCD’s symptoms or from the general distress that it causes to the sufferer.

It also affects a significant amount of people.  Obsessive compulsive disorder afflicts approximately 2.5% of the US population, which means that around 1 out of 40 Americans suffer from some variation of OCD. So although it may not be as prevalent as something people like to think, it is still a serious problem for a fair amount of the population.  Most sufferers of this condition develop symptoms before the age of 30, although it may develop at a later age.

Different Types of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Behavior

OCD cases can be classified into different types based on the behavior being exhibited. Although there is some overlap between these these categories, each type of OCD has certain characteristics which are unique to it.

The first type of OCD deals with obsession that involves a harmful and often aggressive fixation on certain objects and subject. Obsession with religion and certain social activities are good examples of this.

The second type of OCD involves an obsession with symmetry, and is also often accompanied by repetitive behavior as well as a general compulsion towards arranging certain objects.
The third type of OCD involves a general paranoia over contamination, and is usually accompanied by an obsession with cleaning.

And finally, there is the type of OCD which involves hoarding, and is often accompanied by a general tendency to irrationally gather certain objects that attracts the sufferer’s attention.

The Symptoms of OCD

The thoughts and obsessions sparked by OCD can become uncontrollable, and in most cases, the person suffering from OCD will indulge his or her obsession even with the full knowledge that what he or she is doing is irrational. This is because the OCD is the result of repetitive behavior, one that the sufferer has probably engaged in for a very long time. Over time, this repetitive behavior leads to both conscious obsession and ritualization.

The compulsive side of OCD manifests itself through ritualistic behavior. They typically include excessive hand washing, nail biting, touching various random objects. It’s worth mentioning that compulsive behavior is often accompanied by conscious thought, and therefore, tends to require the focused desires and thoughts of the person suffering from OCD.

In contrast to this are habits, which occur with little conscious involvement from the sufferer. Related habits are therefore more routine in nature, and are rarely done in relation to any actual desire on the part of the sufferer. Moreover, habits are rarely complex activities, and unlike compulsive behavior, rarely cause stress. For those concerned about its symptoms you can review an OCD checklist to see if it applies to your current situation.

What Causes It?

While it’s difficult to pinpoint any specific cause for OCD, certain factors are believed to contribute to the problem. Genetics, chemical imbalance in the brain and childhood trauma are factors or potential factors that can play a role in the development of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

It’s worth pointing out, for example, that an imbalance of serotonin in the human brain can potentially increase a person’s chances of developing OCD. Likewise, traumatic childhood experiences, like being a victim of child abuse, can also contribute a person’s chances of developing OCD later on in life.

Treatment Options

After a proper diagnosis from a qualified mental health care professional, treating obsessive-compulsive disorder typically involves cognitive behavioral psychotherapy and various types of medication. However, considering how OCD symptoms manifest differently among different people, a certain degree of flexibility is also required in treating individual patients.

Most therapies for treating OCD involve exposure therapy and prevention of ritualistic behaviors. The goal is to get the patient to withdraw from compulsive behavior for long periods of time, until finally, he or she is able to overcome the problem.

As for medication, SSRI or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are often used to treat cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The purpose of these medications is to increase the amount of serotonin in the patient’s brain in order to help prevent the severity of the condition. Other types of medication may also be employed in order to help improve a patient’s responses to therapy, and to speed up the treatment.  ]

Some patients find relief in OCD support groups, where they can share their experiences with others that may be going through the exact same kind of ordeals.  Knowing that you are not alone can be extremely beneficial and may help with any sort of depression symptoms that may arise from having to deal with this disorder.  A patient with this condition should expect to treatment to be a long term part of their lives, however, given enough time and dedication treatment can help control or improve the most problematic parts of OCD and allow the patient to lead a productive life.

For further details on this disorder check out the very informative video below.

Look After Your Colon And It Will Look After You

With the staggering numbers related to colon cancer, everyone should be concerned with colon health and what they can do to prevent colon and rectal cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, the number of newly diagnosed colon cancer cases for 2011 in the US is estimated to be just over 101,000 and nearly 40,000 for rectal cancer. The estimated number of deaths is nearly 50,000 for both combined. Those numbers are quite scary and they should be plenty of motivation for anyone to try and find ways to not become one of those statistics. Colon health should be on everyone’s mind as they get older. Knowing what you can do to help prevent or at the very least, catch colon cancer early in its development, is essential for lowering your risk of future health problems.

Colon cancer prevention combines a decreasing of the risk factors for cancer with an increase in protective measures to promote colon health. However, even with proper preventative measures, genetics and other unknown factors can still lead a person to develop cancer. This is why regular cancer screening is highly recommended, especially as we advance in age.

Avoiding Risk Factors

Smoking: In this day and age, just about everyone is aware of the savage long term effects that smoking has on the body. This is true of the colon as well. Quitting smoking substantially lowers your risk for a whole host of different cancers including colon cancer.

Alcohol: Drinking in moderation is fine and in some instances studies have shown that it may even have health benefits, but alcohol abuse can have extremely detrimental health effects. More than 3 alcoholic drinks per day can significantly increase one’s chances of developing colorectal cancer. Moderation, as with a lot of things in life, is key to good colon health.

Diet: A high fat, low fiber diet can be damaging to the colon and to overall health of the body. Obesity is another of the risk factors of colorectal cancer and a high fat diet should be addressed for better colon health.

There are certain risk factors, such as age and a family history of colon cancer that obviously cannot be avoided. This is where regular screening comes in. If you are in a high risk group, regular exams such as a colonoscopy, barium enema, CT scan and blood tests are important in maintaining colon health and catching any cancer early in its development.

Protective Measures

Exercise: Regular physical activity is essential to sustain as we get older. Exercise has many important health benefits and can have a great impact on promoting colon health. Not only does it increase oxygen levels in the blood, but it also helps combat obesity.

Diet: A diet high in fiber has wonderful benefits not only for the colon but for the entire digestive system, helping to ensure positive and regular bowel movements that remove toxins and helping to avoid fecal matter from staying too long in the colon. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits should be a regular part of a diet to optimize digestive health. Drinking plenty of fluids is also important for proper colon health. Less sugary, carbonated beverages and more juice or water will help the digestive system immensely in staying balanced and regular.

Regular Colon Exams: An exam like a colonoscopy is used, in part, to look for and remove colon polyps. Polyp removal is one of the best preventative measures to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Most colon polyps are not cancerous, but left inside the colon, over time, they could develop into colon cancer. Any polyp found during a colonoscopy usually can be removed right on the spot during the procedure, saving time and lowering cancer risk. Regular exams, especially if you are in a high risk group, are encouraged and are a great way to preserve colon health. While colonoscopy prep and a colonoscopy procedure are not the most fun experiences to go through, they are important. Consult with your doctor to discuss if you should have a colon exam and how often you should have one.

Colon Cleanse or Colonic: Clearing out of the colon on occasion of any built up fecal matter may have very helpful benefits on colon health. A bad diet may lead to an accumulation of undigested material that can linger in the digestive system. Using a natural colon cleansing product or going to a colonic specialist to alleviate any potential blockage may be extremely beneficial.

Aspirin: Some studies have shown that taking aspirin everyday for at least 5 years can lower the risk of colorectal cancer development and the risk of death from colorectal cancer. However, it also increases the risk of stomach bleeding and bleeding in other areas of the body. Never start a daily aspirin regimen before consulting with your doctor.

“A healthy colon is a happy colon.” This saying can be used with just about every organ in the body, but it still rings true. A healthy lifestyle along with regular and constant medical screening can make a world of difference in determining the quantity and quality of the years in your life. Be proactive, avoid risk factors and consult with your doctor to make sure your are doing everything you can to promote and maintain optimal colon health.