Dr. Helen Blair Simpson explains if a woman can prevent obsessive compulsive disorder/OCD.
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Question: Can a woman prevent obsessive compulsive disorder? Dr. Helen Blair Simpson: Prevention is a key area but the problem is we don't know very much about what causes it or how it develops, but here is what I would say. I see a lot of people in their 30s and 40s who come for treatment then and what's tragic to me is I can help their symptoms but I can't get their life back on course. So since OCD; half the cases start by age 19, quarter of the cases by age 14, these people often have been suffering for years before they come for help. So imagine if you get terrible OCD symptoms in your teens, maybe you make it through high school but you don't make it through college, maybe you never really move out of your parent's house, maybe you don't develop romantic relationships and never get married. Again by the time you are in your 30s or 40s, maybe you've never gotten the job that you wanted and now when you are 30s or 40s, there you are, I can reduce your symptoms but I can't get you back into your life. So my urge, you know, in a sense, it's not quite prevention but if you are starting to see symptoms of OCD, I urge people, go get help then, go get help on the symptoms that are just starting and very mild, because my guess is that the treatments we have that's going to be all you need. You educate yourself about it. You make sure that you don't get off track in your life. Typically when the symptom start, the illness has a chronic waxing and waning course. There are some people who have what I call episodic OCD, that it really comes on in episodes and then goes away. I think again, the big to not have a progress, a big issue is get treatment early so that all the consequences in your life don't start to accrue. Here is an example. Patients who have a bad OCD symptoms, who are working but then who lose their job, it starts to - the illness starts to progress because they now spend a lot more time by themselves at home and do even more obsessing and compulsing, whereas when they went out into their job, in a sense that they couldn't do as much as they used to do and that's actually good not to be allowed to do as much. So one of things to stop progression is not to check out of your life, don't let the symptoms check, you know, have you check out of your life. Stay in your life, fight for your life and get treatment.
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