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Untreated OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Problems

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 9/14/2010

If you have obsessive compulsive disorder, problems can arise if you leave it untreated. These problems include physical and mental complications, as well as other difficulties that are neither completely physical or completely mental.

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    General Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Problems

    If a person does not treat their obsessive compulsive disorder then numerous problems can be realised. Some of these difficulties depend on the obsessions and compulsions that the particular person has. For example, if people have trouble walking through a doorway, they may be constantly late for appointments, unable to work or attend school, and frustrated with the related difficulties in their relationships. Although these are not medical problems, they can severely impact a person's life. They can also lead to many of the mental and physical complications discussed in the following sections.

    In addition, cormorbid disorders (or disorders that usually go together with OCD) can worsen if OCD is untreated. These include Tourette's syndrome, trichotillomania, and body dismorphic disorder. Tourette's syndrome is a disorder in which a person experiences verbal and physical tics, trichotillomania is the urge to pull out hair, and body dismorphic disorder is the overwhelming belief that a body part is deformed, even if it is not.

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    Mental Complications

    Mental obsessive compulsive disorder problems include depression, suicidal thoughts, panic disorder, and a number of other anxiety disorders. Although children with OCD may not realize that what they are doing is socially unacceptable or counterproductive, adults with OCD do realize this. The frustration of being unable to control their own thoughts and actions can lead some to developing these mental problems.

    About 80% of people with OCD suffer from depression, which can lead to the development of some of the general complications outlined above (such as trouble with relationships, inability to hold down a job, inability to attend school). At the same time, it is important to realize that only 1% of people with OCD actually commit suicide. People who have loved ones who suffer from OCD should be on the lookout for these symptoms and should be willing to ask for help if they suspect that their loved one is experiencing these problems.

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    Physical Complications

    Most obsessive compulsive disorder problems that arise have some mental aspect to them. At the same time, some obsessions and compulsions of OCD can lead to long term physical complications.

    For example, people with obsessive compulsive disorder who wash their hands frequently may experience contact dermatitis, or skin inflammation. In addition, some people with OCD may also develop eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia. The fact that these disorders go together is fairly logical, since many people with OCD try to control their environments as much as possible, and are bothered by inexact amounts. The eating disorder may just be a manifestation of their obsession with measuring and controlling the amount of food that they eat or the amount of weight that they gain.

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    References

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obsessive-compulsive-disorder/DS00189/DSECTION=complications

    http://www.mentalhealthchannel.net/ocd/complications.shtml

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

This series will discuss various aspects of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), include symptoms, complications, and treatments.
  1. Untreated OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Problems
  2. Telltale Signs: When You Suspect Someone Has an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  3. Understanding OCD in Teenagers
  4. What are the Risks for Children with Parents who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
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