OCD Mental Health First Aid is a mental health illness where it affects the brain and behaviour. OCD can be the cause of severe anxiety, as the person will have repetitive thoughts and behaviours which are out of their control. It comprises both obsessions thoughts and compulsions behaviour, which can obstruct important activities that the person values.
What are the possible causes of OCD?
After many years of professional research, it is not fully understood the main causes of OCD, however, research has suggested that the possible main causes of ODC can be;
OCD may be a result of changes in the persons brain functions. For example, research has shown that people suffering with OCD has differences in certain parts of their brain compared to those who do not suffer with OCD. This can include thing such as, brain activity, blood flow and brain chemical called serotonin. Now serotonin will regulate different parts of the body functions and this can include things such as memory, anxiety mood swings and sleep
OCD may have a genetic component in the way it affects the brain, but specific genes have yet to be identified. Also, research suggests that a person with OCD will more than likely have someone in the family suffering with it, rather than someone who does not have OCD
Individuals who suffer with OCD often have a history of disturbing life events and these can include, physical or sexual abuse, neglect which can lead to social isolation. Being physical or emotionally bullied can also be a cause of OCD.
People who have a family history of OCD may also develop the condition if emotional events has happened in life, such as a family bereavement, for example, the death of a family member can trigger ODC as the person may have apprehension of another family member been hurt. A break-down in a relationship or even starting a new job can also trigger OCD
Individuals with different Personality traits such as stress or anxiety are more likely to suffer with OCD. Another example is if a person holds very high standards in to account, then they can also develop OCD.
What are the feelings an individual may have when experiencing OCD?
A person who doesn’t have OCD may struggle to understand just how someone is feeling with this condition. An individual may experience a number of different experiences – just imagine the brain is single-minded on a task and we cannot break this thought pattern.
The individual may experience thoughts they don’t want and will feel pressurised to do something rash to take the thoughts away. This thought process could also bring on anxiety and the individual may feel in danger so have to respond in a certain way to protect themselves.
The person may also experience both different obsessive thoughts and compulsions behaviour; for example;
- Fear, this can a fear of danger to them or other around them
- They may have inappropriate thoughts or images in their head, such as sexually or violent thoughts
- They may become religious and even start to become radicalised
- repetitiveness – they can repeat conversations over and over again in their head
- they may experience horning, collecting things they don’t really need or want
- becoming obsessive around the home, such as cleaning, washing and making sure electrical plus are unplugged, doors looked etc.
- A person with OCD might recognise their fear is irrational, but the feeling will still be real to them. This is because the different function in the brain is letting them they are something is wrong, when its actually there is nothing wrong.
OCD Mental Health First Aid
How does OCD affect?
OCD would affect the individual as they have to go through a series of structured tasks and thoughts to feel safe and secure, without doing this they may feel in danger. There are many examples of this which can include;
A person may not feel safe unless they touch something every time they leave or come back in the house, such as plug sockets or light switches.
Repeating a person’s name over and over again to prevent something happening to the or repeating a specific pray or phase to prevent a thing happening
Continuous reading, for example, the person may be need to send an email but will check it excessive times before they send it
Uniformity, keeping thing in the house all in the same order or have all the same colours together, for example, having the same colour pegs on the washing line for the same colour clothes or having the same organisation in the cupboards and fridge of food and tins
Obsessive washing and cleaning – this can be hands, cloths, table tops and general house cleaning. This can also include fear of food infection meaning the person will only eat what they cook themselves and in their own home
Some people may be affected by only buying certain things they tough in certain ways, for example, they will only but something from a shop if the use both hands to look at it and they have to hold it in a certain way
Getting ready in the mornings, people with OCD will get ready the same way each day, for example, they must put their socks on last
An individual with OCD would affect their lives as they would be governed by the routines and structure their mind is telling them.
As different people have slight OCD tendencies such as double-checking the door is locked, this will affect them and stop their daily activities. An example of this could be, if the person does not check all the doors before leaving they may think they are in danger and don’t leave the house and then they will become isolated.
The person may also suffer stigma and discrimination due to this and lose friends and have difficulties maintaining relationships, making them feel more isolated. This can make the person anxious from going out at all social events, so they would avoid it all together. It could also be difficult for the person to hold down a job.
Another factor that can affect their lives is avoiding things, as previously mention, if the person has a fear of infection or contamination, they may avoid eating elsewhere but their home, however if they become isolated, they may not have sufficient foods in the home so they will avoid eating all together or the person could want to stick to a certain diet and foods.