Les Linet, MD., Psychiatry, explains what obsessive compulsive disorder is.
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Speaker: We will discuss, what is Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, with Doctor Las Lahat. Dr. Las Lahat: Hi, this is a common condition. It is not -- sometimes it is hidden. There are married couples for example, where a spouse doesn't realize for years that his or her spouse suffers from this. Speaker: Are people born with Obsessive Compulsive Disorders? Dr. Las Lahat: Well, there is evidence of genetic contribution to it, and this is of course true with lot of illnesses. So in a sense they maybe born with some previous disposition. Speaker: How would you define or use the term, what is in your life, from Psychiatrist point of view, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, why is it little obsessive at times? Dr. Las Lahat: It's an excellent question because it's that kind of thing. We use the word compulsion in a lot of ways that are kind of sloppy, for example, compulsive gambler is a term, but that's not a true compulsion. This is what a true compulsion; a true compulsion is a behavior or a thinking pattern that is intended to neutralize some danger. So I have a patient who has to have his towels lined up just even, and he says, he feels like his family is going to die if he doesn't do it. That's a compulsion. Compulsive liars, so to speak, or compulsive gamblers are not doing their "compulsion," because of danger, they are doing it for some gain, obviously, gambling is supposed to give you a winning hand, and you win and of course you get some advantages if you can pull off his lie. So it is repetitive and that's why it is used, the term is used, the term compulsion is used, but it is not a compulsion. A compulsion as I said is an effort to neutralize a danger. People who go around the house, and check locks, and the gas are doing a compulsion. Now we don't Obsessive Compulsion Disorder though, unless it causes significant distress or impairments. So some people do these things before they go to sleep they check the house, it is a compulsion, but if it is not causing impairment we don't consider it a disorder. There is another condition that's related that I want to explain, and that's Obsessive Compulsive Personality, and that I think is best illustrated by the Odd Couple. Those of you who remember the characters Felix and Oscar. Oscar was the was a slob, and Felix was the neat freak. Now Felix the neat freak, did not suffer from his neatness, his cleanliness, Oscar did, he was driving Oscar crazy and vice versa. Oscar's sloppiness drove Felix off the wall, but -- this you are talking now about Felix, the neat freak, the compulsive one, he didn't have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It was not impairing his life, just annoying Oscar, but he could work, and he wasn't spending hours doing rituals. Often we use the criteria, how many hours a day the person is involved in compulsion for the diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. So Obsessive Compulsive personalities don't suffer, they just feel better doing these things, and they do it. Speaker: Are there any known causes for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Dr. Las Lahat: Well, the Streptococci infection is --. Speaker: Might be, not sure. Dr. Las Lahat: Is known to contribute in some cases to an exacerbation of symptoms, probably genetic causes. Speaker: Is there any good treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorders? Dr. Las Lahat: Yeah, there is a medicine and it's an non-medication, and they are both effective. I will give you a quick example, I saw a girl who was about was eight years old, and her brother was about four. Anything that her brother touched now became contaminated and she would not touch it, she would not go to the bathroom that he had got into, until her mother went in and cleaned it. Now, this was a big problem, the family was being sort of held hostage by the girl's OCD. What I did -- and this is a dramatic and very quick therapy story, I told Mom and Dad to bring in a pair of her son's underpants when they brought the kids in the next time, and we had her w