People with obsessive-compulsive disorder are plagued by persistent and unwanted thoughts known as obsessions. The person may feel irresistible urges to repeatedly carry out irrational actions or tasks against their will, which are also called compulsions.
OCD is often accompanied by depression, substance-abuse, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders, which makes obsessive-compulsive disorder all the more difficult to diagnose. It is normal for a person to have recurring thoughts or ideas once in a while. A man may wonder for hours if he had forgotten to lock his car after parking it. A student may trouble herself with the thought that she must have forgotten to put her name on a test paper, and will think about this constantly for weeks on end until she gets her paper back. A woman may be hearing a song over and over again in her head. These are all normal situations for anybody, but for people with OCD, obsessions and compulsions may take over and interfere with their lives.
Symptoms of OCD include obsessive thoughts and behavior such as showing excessive attention even to the smallest of details (getting things "in line"), fear of being contaminated by germs, a fierce belief in superstitions, excessively checking in on things and loved ones, and hoarding junk items which they have no use for. People with OCD generally lack confidence and motivation to overcome this condition.
If you believe someone has OCD, it is best that you consult a health professional such as a psychiatrist immediately, because OCD, if left untreated, can come between a person and his work, school, and relationships with friends and family.
Treatment, such as therapy and medication for obsessive-compulsive disorder is very much available. The most promising form of treatment for people with OCD is cognitive behavioral therapy. This involves repeated exposure to a person's source of obsessions, such as excessively washing his hands for example, and conditioning the person to control his urges to be rid of his anxiety. Intake of SSRI's or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors is also used as treatment, because those with OCD likely suffer from low serotonin levels.
OCD and depression frequently occur together. Research shows that almost half of people with OCD suffers or had suffered bouts of depression in their lifetimes. When OCD is accompanied by depression, therapy might be modified so that both depression and OCD can be treated. Because OCD and depression often go together, they are usually mistaken with one another. Finding the right kind of therapy and positive thinking are very important, if someone with OCD also shows signs of being depressed, it is important that you explain these symptoms to a health professional.
It may be a wise idea to treat the depression because the sufferer will start to feel better about themselves and will be more likely to be strong enough to face overcoming their obsessive compulsive disorder.
Remember, people can and do make recoveries from depression and go on to lead their best lives imaginable.