OCD, the ‘silent enemy’


Three in every hundred people suffer from some form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and they may not even be aware of the problem. At Nimhans, psychiatrists call OCD a “silent enemy”.

Most people fail to seek treatment at the initial stages but approach a specialist only after three or four years of suffering from the condition. By then, the treatment becomes difficult as the obsession may have reached an uncontrollable state, doctors say.

A person suffering from this chronic and long-lasting disorder has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts and behaviours, and feels the urge to repeat an action over and over again.

According to Dr. Y.C. Janardhan Reddy, chief of the OCD clinic at the Department of Psychiatry, Nimhans, there are different manifestations of the disorder, the most common one being ‘contamination obsession’ where a person frequently washes his or her hands or takes a shower.

Margret Jebakumar (27) believes she is suffering from contamination obsession, and is contemplating seeking medical assistance. “I can’t use the public transport, touch objects on my work desk and or sit back on my chair,” says Ms. Jebakumar, who recently quit her office job to work from home.

Speaking about seeking treatment, assistant professor Nitin Anand, a consultant clinical psychologist at the OCD clinic, says there are certain indications or criteria where one should consult a psychiatrist.

“When the obsessive or compulsive habit or behaviour consumes a lot of your time, causes substantial amount of anxiety and distress and affects your family and social life, it is time to approach a specialist and seek help,” says Dr. Anand, who treats more than 40 patients at the city clinic.

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