OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and anxiety disorders affect millions of Americans. Historically, the two conditions were regarded as anxiety disorders, but research has since shown that they differ. Both conditions have overlapping symptoms, which is why they often get confused with each other. The overlapping symptoms make diagnosis and treatment quite tricky. Therefore, understanding the differences between the disorders can go a long way in creating effective treatment plans.
What is Anxiety?
Everyone gets anxious from time to time, and this is a normal emotion. When used correctly, anxiety can be helpful in some situations. For instance, it can teach you to be careful whenever you sense danger. By staying anxious about some issues, you can avoid unwanted outcomes.
Nevertheless, anxiety disorders are a different thing altogether because they prevent you from living a normal life. Those who suffer from anxiety disorders tend to experience constant and overwhelming fear and worry. However, with treatment, they can get back to living normally. There are different anxiety disorders, including:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive and unrealistic worry or tension without any reason.
Social Anxiety Disorder
This disorder is also referred to as a social phobia. It is characterized by overwhelming self-consciousness and worries about being in social places. You may find yourself fixated on getting judged, ridiculed, or embarrassed by others whenever you’re in public.
Individuals who suffer from panic disorder experience terror, which strikes randomly. During panic attacks, they may sweat besides experiencing palpitations and chest pains.
Do you find yourself intensely fearful of specific situations or objects? Well, you could be having a phobia, which is a type of anxiety disorder. Often, such fears cause you to avoid situations that are ordinary to others.
What Are the Causes of Anxiety Disorders?
Scientists are yet to discover the specific cause of anxiety disorders. One standout characteristic of most anxiety disorders is that they are linked to defective circuits in the human brain. Like many mental illnesses, anxiety orders typically result from different conditions. These include environmental stress or even changes in the brain. Similarly, anxiety disorders can run in families.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
There isn’t a specific lab test that can diagnose anxiety disorders. However, if you have any of the symptoms above, your doctor will evaluate you and review your medical history. Tests will be run to run out other medical conditions that could be causing your symptoms. You’ll also be asked some questions to determine whether you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, and how intense your symptoms are.
Patients suffering from anxiety disorders are often treated with antidepressants besides undergoing cognitive behavior therapy. They also get advice on how to manage their symptoms. For instance, they may be told to reduce the intake of caffeine-rich foods, get better sleep, and exercise regularly.
What is OCD?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) manifests as persistent and recurrent obsessive thoughts or repetitively compulsive behaviors and affects 2% of Americans. OCD involves unwanted, repeated, and intrusive thoughts, ideas, feelings, and actions. Patients are often preoccupied with preventing catastrophic events from happening by engaging in repetitive behaviors. Compulsive habits may include undertaking tasks in a particular way every time.
Generally, OCD manifests itself in various forms. However, most cases fall in at least one of these general categories:
- Checking— An OCD patient will check on door locks, ovens, and light switches repetitively. If you find yourself obsessing over conditions such as pregnancy, you could be suffering from OCD.
- Symmetry and Order— Those who suffer from OCD are often obsessed with maintaining things in a particular manner.
- Contamination— The compulsion to keep things clean and the fear of things getting dirty and contamination is an OCD symptom. Mental contamination is the feeling that other people always treat you like dirt.
- Intrusive Thoughts and Ruminations— This is the obsession with a particular line of thought. Sometimes, these thoughts tend to be disturbing or violent.
OCD Risk Factors and Causes
Although mental health experts aren’t sure about why some patients suffer from OCD, it has been proven that stress worsens the symptoms. The condition is somewhat more prevalent among women than men. OCD could be caused by your family history with the condition, depression and anxiety, experience with trauma, and physical differences in parts of your brain.
Diagnosis and Treatment
OCD diagnosis primarily involves your doctor talking to you about your habits, feelings, and thoughts. Physical examinations and blood tests can also be undertaken to ensure that something else isn’t causing your symptoms.
Although there is no cure for OCD, treatment primarily involves managing the side effects. Common treatments include psychotherapy, relaxation, neuromodulation, and medication using serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Restoring Your Health and Wellbeing
OCD and anxiety disorders can significantly disrupt your life. If you suspect any of these disorders, do not hesitate to seek help. Schedule an appointment at EZCare Clinic today and get the help you need to restore your health and wellbeing.