Picture and think of Adrian Monk from the television show of the same name. This individual was the poster man for obsessive compulsive disorder, better known as OCD. On a daily basis, if not by the hour, Monk felt overwhelming anxiety when it came to germs and cleanliness, arranging items and furniture in a specific order, checking doors and windows, and the list goes on and on. Although a comedy-driven show, obsessive compulsive disorder is not a laughing matter.
Women and men are equally affected. The chronic disorder can develop and be diagnosed in childhood but more often when the individual is a teenager or as an adult.
At some point in time in our life, all of us have had a compelling desire to go back and re-check to make sure the garage door was closed or the garbage cans were lined up just so on the curb. What occurs in a person with obsessive compulsive disorder is that these thoughts are pumped up in volume. Thoughts and desires can be placed into two different buckets: obsessions and compulsions. Some people have only obsessions. Some only have compulsions and then there are also some individuals who have both.
It is easy to see when obsessions and compulsions rise in incidence how a person’s life with obsessive compulsive disorder can negatively be affected. Even shortly after the obsessive thought or compulsion has been completed or resolved, the individual can become anxious.
Treatment for the disorder can involve cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications such as antidepressants and selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs).
Effects of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on Sleep
With the constant checking and re-checking habits of someone with obsessive compulsive disorder, it is easy to assume that sufferers have problems sleeping. Back in 1982, a study was conducted to discover what effect the disorder had on sleep. The researchers published their results in what was formerly known as the Archives of General Psychiatry (now JAMA Psychiatry). The findings showed that people with obsessive compulsive disorder slept less and spent a decreased amount of time in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep.
Since then other studies on the effects of obsessive compulsive disorder on sleep have been conducted. At the end of 2013, in Sleep Medicine Research, an analysis of the research done on this topic appeared. Results confirmed that there was some evidence that there was a decrease in total sleep time with intermittent awakenings or disturbances in slumber. However, the group noted that the sleep disturbances were more in keeping with a person suffering from depression. And yet with increased severity of obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms, the greater and more impactful the sleep disturbance. Nevertheless, they suggested that it is important to address sleep problems in people with obsessive compulsive disorder. Increasing the quality of sleep can only help in overall mood and emotional well-being.
If you have obsessive compulsive disorder and trouble sleeping, please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation.