1. Learn about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Symptoms and Treatment

    May 27, 2013

    Obsessive compulsive disorder

    by Joanna Fishman

    Obsessive compulsive disorder, or simply “OCD”, is a condition that pairs obsessive thought patterns with compulsive behaviours. These thoughts and behaviours cause the sufferer depression and anxiety. Some typical examples of the behaviour you might see in someone with OCD is constantly cleaning (beyond reason) or counting items over and over again.

    There are two distinct elements to OCD: obsessions and compulsions. The obsessions are not as easy to identify (to the outside world) as the compulsions. Someone may have obsessive thoughts about items being symmetrical, for example, but this behaviour manifests itself in compulsive organizing and rearranging of items.

    The causes of OCD are up for debate. There is strong evidence to suggest that the brain activity of the OCD sufferer is markedly different from that of those who do not suffer from OCD – suggesting a biological basis for the condition. Specific neurotransmitters may be key to understanding these biological anomalies. Neurotransmitters send messages between nerve cells within the brain. OCD sufferers are thought to have lower levels of serotonin than the general population.

    Unfortunately, having a parent with OCD may increase the likelihood of you being diagnosed with the same. While this seems to suggest a genetic link, studies have not been conclusive. The prevalence of OCD in families is likely a combination of both nature and nurture.

    Interestingly, some experts link certain infections with the onset of OCD symptoms. Some children are diagnosed with OCD within weeks after suffering from strep throat. This is due to the infection damaging the nerve cells within the brain that control OCD.

    Treatment for OCD usually comes in the form of medication and/or psychotherapy. Medication does not cure the disorder – it merely makes it tolerable. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, can provide a lasting and even permanent solution to OCD symptoms.

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a very popular treatment option for sufferers of OCD. CBT involves intervening negative or destructive thought patterns and replacing them with more rational thoughts. Some CBT therapists use exposure and response prevention, which teaches the sufferer how to cope with their anxiety toward a specific trigger by exposing them to the trigger gradually.

    While counselling is one of the most effective non-pharmaceutical treatments for OCD, there are other types of natural remedies that sufferers may try in conjunction with psychotherapy. Yoga can be used to treat a variety of medical ailments – but it is specifically beneficial for anxiety (which commonly accompanies OCD). Some patients also find St. John’s Wort (found in health food stores) effective in alleviating depression, which may be present in OCD sufferers.

    OCD can be crippling for sufferers, as it causes high levels of anxiety and depression. It can affect the sufferer’s ability to hold down a job, enjoy social situations or attend school. However, OCD need not be a life sentence. There are many effective treatments for OCD ease short-term and long term suffering. The first step is always to see a counsellor and get a proper diagnosis.

    Image CreditNwardez

  2. Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders

    April 17, 2013

    anxiety disorders

    by Tsvetan Petrov

    Everyone feels anxiety at certain point in their life. It’s completely natural to feel anxiety in challenging or dangerous times. That can come when a person is just feeling uncomfortable or in real threatening danger. Spending too much time in that state of anxiety can mean that there is an underlying disorder. Different things can cause these anxiety disorders and each one has their one particular effects.

     Anxiety Disorders – Most Common

    Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    A person that consistently feels anxiety when there is no practical reason to remain in that state might have a generalized anxiety disorder. When a person with this disorder is asked why they’re feeling that way, they won’t be able to answer clearly. The typical bout will take around 6 months. It’s particularly common in women. The anxiety doesn’t go away and continues to eat away at the people suffering from generalized anxiety disorders. That can lead to a number of medical concerns like insomnia, heart palpitations, dizziness, and headaches.


    People with a phobia don’t have consistent anxiety without a trigger. They typically have a very specific trigger for their anxiety. They develop an overbearing fear of something or some situation. That fear can be something close to reasonable or something completely unnecessary depending on the severity. Whenever that fear begins to kick in, the person suffering may experience strong feelings of fear. That includes trouble breathing, heart palpitations, nausea, and shaking. Some of the most popular phobia’s that people have are blood, small areas, animals, and heights. Phobia’s can lead people to make poor decisions in an attempt to escape a high anxiety situation.

    Panic disorder

    People suffering from Panic disorders or agoraphobia will unexpectedly suffer from massive bouts of anxiety called panic attacks. They’ll often include chest pain, dizzy spells, fear, shaking, and discomfort with being alone. Many panic attacks are completely irrational and sufferers often even know that is the case. Often people will go out of their way to not be alone or in a public situation for that reason. Panic attacks can be minor or severe enough that someone may cause self harm.

    Social Anxiety

    Social anxiety is a phobia of social situations. People suffering from social phobia will often suffer symptoms like a panic attack when they’re exposed to public situations. They may become dizzy, shake, feel short of breath, and they may even have heart palpitations. This social anxiety can occur with strangers or close friends. It’s often most severe when the person becomes the center of attention of the group.

    OCD – Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

    OCD is an anxiety disorder that is caused by an obsessive feeling or thought. They often will manage their own anxiety by doing repetitive tasks that don’t allow anxiety to slip in throughout the day. One common example is someone that is OCD about cleanliness. They can feel anxiety at the sight of a little bit of a problem. That will lead to the person cleaning and reordering continuously without any logical end in sight.

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    When a person suffers through a particularly damaging event in their life, they may end up suffering from recurring bouts of that anxiety and stress. That is Post-traumatic stress disorder. It can often be caused by a simple similarity between the damaging event and what is happening (familiar object or person.) The person may suddenly fall back into reliving the events that they suffered through. This can lead to panic attacks, loss of control, and crying. Often people suffering will have less obvious symptoms like avoidance of certain situations and trouble sleeping. Post traumatic stress disorder can start instantly after the event or it can start decades later.

    Anxiety disorders need to be understood to be treated effectively in a healthy way. Many of the methods used to work with an anxiety disorder, not only control the symptoms, but also aim to strengthen the natural mechanisms. A person must be diagnosed and treated accordingly to eliminate the anxiety that they feel.

    Image Credit: Daniel Horacio Agostini