Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the fifth most debilitating psychiatric condition, but few people seek treatment for it, experts said Sunday. According to the WHO, only about 35-40% of people with this disorder seek therapy. The number of people who receive evidence-based treatment for the disorder is less than 10%.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is twice as common as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and is the fourth most common psychiatric disorder, experts say. Shedding light on why few people seek treatment for OCD, Dr Neelesh Tiwari, a neuropsychiatrist at World Brain Center Hospital in Delhi, said the reason was a lack of awareness and understanding of the disorder.
“What’s needed is awareness of OCD. Specific treatment strategies can help patients with OCD regain control of symptoms, functioning and quality of life.” Dr. Tiwary said OCD treatment is very effective and most people who receive treatment make a full recovery.
Depending on the severity, treatments range from a variety of medications to therapies. “In mild cases, therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, have been found to be sufficient. In more severe cases, medication is prescribed. Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to help relieve anxiety,” said Dr. Tiwary.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be identified by the presence of obsessions or compulsions, or both. An intrusive and unwanted pattern of thought, image, or craving can be termed an obsession. Obsessions have their roots in an individual’s thinking. Compulsions are behaviors that a person repeatedly engages in because they feel compelled to do so in response to an obsession. They are generally considered unreasonable or excessive by the individual, experts said.
According to Dr. Nayamat Bawa, Chief Psychologist, Iwill – ePsyClinic, “Sometimes diagnosing obsessive-compulsive disorder can be difficult because its symptoms can be similar to those of other mental illnesses. They can be detected by observing the compulsive behavior of ‘a person .”
“Recent studies suggest that people who are more knowledgeable about their diagnosis and who have had previous interactions with mental health specialists are more likely to be receptive to the idea of other treatment options.
“On the other hand, a lack of understanding of the problem and depressed mood can reduce an individual’s openness to seek treatment,” Dr. Bawa said. Dr. Bhavna Barmi, senior psychologist at Fortis Escorts Health Institute, said the two main therapies for OCD are psychological and drug treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that many people with obsessive-compulsive disorder find helpful.
“You will learn to resist the temptation to perform your obsessive rituals by being exposed to the feared object or obsession, such as dirt, as part of cognitive behavioral therapy.” A component of cognitive behavioral therapy behavioral is known as exposure and response prevention. Additionally, there are psychiatric medications that can help manage OCD symptoms such as obsessions and compulsions,” Dr. Barmi said.
She said people with OCD may have been isolated from others and alone. “You can help people with this disorder feel supported and get the treatment they need by raising awareness about this issue. People should be educated about the realities of OCD,” Dr. Barmi added.
(With PTI inputs)
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