There has been a significant surge in people diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, say mental health experts.
According to various studies, every two in 100 people are diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. OCD obsessions include repeated, persistent and unwanted thoughts, urges or images, which become very intrusive. This leads to distress or anxiety in a sufferer. So, one tries to evade or ignore these compulsions by performing a compulsive behavior or ritual. These obsessions typically intrude when an individual tries to think or do other things. However, certain protocols necessary for COVID-19 have masked the symptoms of OCD making it difficult to decipher the symptoms for treatment.
According to psychiatrists, there has been a noticeable increase in obsessive compulsive disorder among children and adults. Experts say that fear of germs has heightened OCD symptoms and with these additional symptoms of anxiety the condition is getting difficult to treat.
OCD symptoms in people have exacerbated by approximately 50 percent in the past three months, says Psychologist Cassie Lavell, from the Children’s Centre for Anxiety and OCD in Gold Coast, Australia. Lavell further said that the situation and symptoms for children are getting worse due to delay in treatment.
How to recognize signs of OCD?
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a chronic psychological condition characterized by obsessions such as unwanted and repetitive thoughts, which lead to compulsive behaviors. It includes irrational or excessive urge to conduct certain action in a cynical order. People suffering from OCD are very much aware that their thoughts and behavior is completely irrational or illogical but they are impaired to control or stop such thoughts and behavior.
Obsession includes perturbing impulses or thoughts, and its reoccurrence creates an ad nauseam (something done so repeatedly that it becomes a nuisance). People grappling with OCD may try to refrain from these thoughts, having qualms that it might turn into reality in the future. This, in turn, compounds symptoms of anxiety in the individual.
Mainly, one should look for symptoms such as follows:
- Fear of contamination or dirt
- Having serious doubt and or difficulty in tolerating uncertainty
- An urge to keep things orderly and symmetrical
- Harbouring aggressive and horrific thoughts about losing control and harming oneself or others
- Having unwanted thoughts, including aggression, or sexual or religious subjects
In an urge to suppress the anxiety, the person adopts a compulsive behavior that gives a temporary relief from anxiousness.
For example, if an individual has fear of germs he/she might wash the hands frequently or clean the house every now and then. People might check on the door lock many times during the day when they are plagued by a fear of theft. Arranging things in a particular and cynical order also comes under compulsive behavior. The best way is to not ignore these symptoms and look for help from experts. When addressed, all these symptoms can be handled and one can lead an obsession-free life like others.
How COVID-19 is making OCD symptoms worse?
Since the pandemic broke out mental health conditions of people have exacerbated to a great extent, reports the media and confirmed by experts.
According to a recent KFF poll every four in 10 adults have experienced stress due to the pandemic and it has negatively affected their mental health. Victorian adult psychiatrist Professor Mal Hopwood raised his concern over increasing mental health condition during the pandemic, especially for people battling with OCD. The pandemic is having significant impact on their mental health, impairing their coping mechanism. Intrusive thoughts regarding COVID-19 and fear of getting infected are disturbing their daily equilibrium. People grappling with OCD are more likely to become anxious, depressed and withdrawn. This had added risk to their lives, because they are much more prone to adopt self- isolation.
According to psychologist Cassie Lavell, the COVID-19 pandemic has added challenges in treating OCD because it is masking some patients’ symptoms such as using hand sanitizers frequently or refraining from touching surfaces. It is definitely challenging and adds an extra complication in identifying symptoms for people with OCD.
Professor Hopwood has urged people to seek treatment at the earliest. However, most mental health professionals are only accessible remotely at this point of time, which is making treatment much more difficult and people are compelled to suffer in silence.
Treatment for OCD and ways to seek help
The treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder involves medication, which includes antidepressants and therapies. The therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy.
OCD can make life difficult, impeding daily activities and responsibilities of a person. It is always advisable to seek OCD treatment at the earliest before symptoms worsen.
So, if you or a loved is struggling with OCD and looking for help, get in touch with Medical Concierge for immediate relief.
Medical Concierge ensures the best obsessive compulsive disorder treatment in California. We provide individualized treatment programs on basis of the patient’s thorough medical assessment. To know more about various intervention programs call us now on our 24/7 toll free number 877-636-0042 and get immediate assistance.