Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms are often present in people with eating disorders. In fact, the lifetime risk of OCD symptoms in a person with anorexia nervosa is four times greater than normal. (Halmi et al., 1991).
What causes obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms in individuals who are suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa?
In most cases these OCD symptoms are not likely the result of a core psychiatric condition, or an illness that would be present without the eating disorder.
Instead, it is believed that obsessive compulsive disorder in someone with anorexia is more likely to be an adaptive response to starvation mode because of the physiological and chemical changes going on in the body.
If a young person begins to display obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms for the first time, and they have a noticeable preoccupation with food, eating or dieting, it might be easy for a clinician to confuse OCD with an eating disorder.
On account of the many overlapping symptoms of malnutrition (starvation) with other illnesses, there is always a risk of being misdiagnosed. Is the person suffering from OCD, an eating disorder, or both? It can get very, very confusing.
Most of us probably have an idea regarding the definition of obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms, but perhaps there's a little more to it than you might think. There could be some signs that you're not aware of.
OCD is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by intrusive persistent, unwanted and annoying thoughts. A sufferer will typically dwell on such thoughts, which not only makes them an obsession, but it also fosters feelings of fear, apprehension, worry, or sometimes paranoia.
In an effort to try to reduce the intensity of such feelings, a person with OCD symptoms might feel driven (compelled) to deliberately engage in ritualistic behaviors, even if they interfere with everyday life.
One of the key features of obsessive compulsive disorder is the fact the sufferer is aware of the irrationality or excessiveness of their obsessions and compulsions, but he/she has no ability to control them. This can be extremely frustrating.
OCD Symptoms can be divided into five main categories, which can be interpreted by some as different 'sub types' of the illness. The reality is that they are all part of the same disorder, but it has been known to manifest itself in the following ways:
It's interesting to note that typical OCD treatments -- such as antidepressants, exposure therapy, etc. -- are not generally effective in those who suffer from anorexia nervosa. (Cooper, 1995a).
This is probably due to the fact that the main cause of their OCD (in most of cases) is starvation. For such individuals, a medically monitored refeeding program might be more effective in lessening the obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms.
In the rest of the population, many different treatments are available for OCD. They range from self-help, to medication, to psychotherapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or cognitive behavior modification, is generally the most supported means of treatment.
Many of us experience obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms in our daily lives. In fact, you may have read the above list of symptoms and thought, "Hey, that's me!". This is completely normal, and it does not necessarily mean that you have OCD.
People with true OCD will experience symptoms intensely and frequently. These behaviors and rituals take up a lot of time and usually prevent the person from being able to enjoy life or carry out every day responsibilities.
If you are concerned for yourself or for someone else, please seek professional advice. Your family physician is often a good place to start.
Like what you just read? Let us know! Log into your Google account, then click on the "+1" below.