Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
It is a condition in which the person is preoccupied to a disturbing extent with particular thoughts, impulses and images.
The person is aware that these impulses, thoughts and images are nonsensical. He experiences great distress. He tries to get away from them and bring the situation under control through other thoughts and behaviour. This effort is of a such a level that it affects his everyday life.
The occurrence rate of this disorder in the general population is around of 1-3%. It is the same in women or men. The onset of the disorder is often around the ages of 30, but the probability of it occurring in children and older people is higher.
Many diseases that affect the brain, can lead to OCD. For example streptococcal infections, Tourette’s disease (a type of tic disorder) and other pathology that affect the basal core of the brain, have a close link to OCD. Firstly the organic status has to be assessed in clinic. Neurological and internal examination, EEG and similar investigations are recommended.
OCD may accompany other psychiatric disorders, particularly depression. In such cases, for instance in depression, OCD improves once the depression is treated.
There is a close link between the serotonergic system and OCD. Other physiopathological findings often mentioned are the genetic structure, anatomic and physiological abnormalities.
Anti-obsessive drugs, if necessary in combination with antipsychotics (in cases were insight is lacking) or even surgical intervention, and behavioural therapy play an important role in treatment.