Is OCD A Mood Disorder?

OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder is a type of mental illness that forces patients to have continuous thoughts and urges leading to repetitive behavioral patterns. The patient can either present with obsessive or compulsive behavior or both simultaneously. This disorder can affect day to day activities of a person preventing them from leading a normal life. The thoughts and actions performed by an individual are not in their control and it can affect the school life, job and social relationships of the person.

Is OCD A Mood Disorder?

A mood disorder is one where a person experiences phases or episodes of mania and depression. Both people with OCD and mood disorder can experience mood swings, phobia and anxiousness but a person with mood disorder will not have uncontrollable thoughts along with recurring obsessive and compulsive need to do things repetitively. These conditions are likely to co-exist and people with bipolar disorder might exhibit some OCD symptoms. When they both co-exist, a person can have episodes of depression (feeling low and sad), mania (feeling ecstatic or high), fear of being in public, shifts in moods rapidly, obsessive and compulsive needs along with self destructing thoughts. It is common in these people to have suicidal tendencies and higher rates of substance abuse. Although OCD and mood disorders might share some similar symptoms, but they are different disorders that need to be treated differently. They can sometimes be misdiagnosed as other condition as well. So it is important to undergo proper psychological evaluation and lab tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Most people with OCD are aware of their irrational thoughts and habits but they are unable to control them. They could either have thoughts of getting extremely dirty/fear of germs, compulsion to place things in exact order, fear of getting hurt, believing that some colors are good while others are bad or they could have continuous thoughts of their partner being unfaithful. They could also be overly sensitive to body’s sensations such as breathing, blinking or feeling of one’s heartbeat. They might compulsively wash hands multiple times a day, do things in a certain order many times and a need to label and organize multiple items and things. It is not yet clear why some people suffer from this condition and research is still ongoing to detect the cause. It is most commonly seen in women as compared to men. The symptoms first appear in teens or young adults and stress is more likely to worsen the symptoms. Some researchers believe that it might be genetically inherited; however it has not yet been confirmed. It is seen in people who have either a parent or sibling with a similar disorder, people who have a history of trauma, depression or anxiety issues and history of child abuse mostly sexual.

Treatment Options For OCD And Mood Disorder

A thorough evaluation is necessary to find out the correct diagnosis. Most of the mental illnesses are associated with each other and might require treatment and therapy for both the disorders simultaneously. Bipolar disorder requires lifelong treatment and a combination of medical and physical therapy is required to control the symptoms and overall well-being of the patient. The relapse is common and it should be prevented in order to successfully manage the patient. The medications include anticonvulsive drugs (valproate, carbamazepine, topiramate and gabapentin) to control mood swings, antidepressants such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin to treat depression. Antipsychotics such as haloperidol, chlorpromazine, perphenazine and molindone are used in the treatment of multiple mental disorders. Benzodiazepines helps relieves anxiety in patient with mental disorders but they should be only used for a short period of time as they are highly addictive. Lithium stabilizes the mood and it is most common and effective drug for mood disorder.

OCD also requires long term therapy with fluoxetine, clomipramine, paroxetine along with cognitive therapy to overcome their fears and anxiety. They are assessed for their behavior and activities when exposed to their fears and taught to cope up with the anxiety associated with it.

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