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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Latest Medical Breakthroughs

Thursday, 17 Feb 2011 09:31 AM

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a type of anxiety disorder. People suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder have consistent, obsessive thoughts and use role play, rituals, and compulsions to control the anxiety that their thoughts produce.
OCD is a potentially immobilizing condition that traps people into an endless cycle of recurring and distressing thoughts, fears, images, and behavior patterns.
There is limited information on cures for obsessive compulsive disorder. For many years, mental health and research professionals believed only a small part of the population showed signs of obsessive compulsive disorder. Many patients do not seek obsessive compulsive disorder help as they try to keep their OCD behavior confidential.

A survey conducted in the early 1980s by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) showed that more than 2 percent of people showed symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
What causes OCD?
There is not much obsessive compulsive disorder information available and experts cannot pinpoint the exact cause of OCD. Researchers believe low levels of serotonin play a role. A diagnosis is often made based on the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. Treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder range from psychotherapy to medications that boost serotonin levels.
It is believed that fifty percent of patients that show symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder do not benefit from current treatments, while the remaining half only benefit partially.
Topiramate and Tramadol: These two latest drugs are being studied by researchers to treat signs of obsessive compulsive disorder. While the former is an anticonvulsant, it has been reported to be helpful in some small trials where patients were given Topiramate in addition to their standard medication. The latter medication, Tramadol, is a painkiller and researchers believe it could help reduce the depression that usually accompanies OCD. However, there is an element of some risk with regard to addiction which is far minimal compared to its benefits.
St. John’s Wort: In another breakthrough, a herbal medication with antidepressant qualities has been found to have similar functions as the SSRI’s or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. 

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