Dementia: Obsessive compulsive disorder increases the risk

Scientists who conducted a retrospective study in Taiwan using the insurance system found that a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) had a four times higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to a person without OCD. They found that men with OCD were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease while women were more likely to develop vascular dementia. Those with OCD were found to have dementia six years earlier than those who did not. However, it is important to remember that this was a retrospective study, and that more long-term studies are required before a definitive conclusion can be reached.

Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive, and disturbing thoughts, images, and impulses that enter a person’s mind.

This obsession is triggered by emotion, often feelings of extreme anxiety or distress.

These feelings can then create a compulsion, such as repetitive behaviors or actions that the person with OCD feels they must do.

The problem is that while this compulsion subsides the feelings, the obsession soon returns and the cycle begins again.

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OCD can have a significant impact on the lives of people who suffer from it, so it is important to seek help and support those who suffer from it.

There are two main ways to get help.

They are referring yourself to a psychotherapy service or to see your GP who can then refer you.

You can also contact the Samaritans and there are many helplines to guide you through what can be a challenging experience.

You can’t change if you have OCD or not, but there are factors you can control that can help reduce your chances of developing dementia.

As with symptoms, there is no single cause for all types of dementia and there is no complete scientific understanding that would facilitate the development of preventative treatments.

However, there are things we can all do to reduce our risk.

The charity, Race Against Dementia, has identified twelve risk factors that can help reduce the likelihood of developing it in middle age or later. They say if all of these cases were alleviated worldwide, it could reduce future cases of dementia by 40 percent.

The first and only factor in early life is education. According to the charity, “Higher and longer lasting education is proven [to] improve cognitive performance”.

In middle age, hearing impairment, high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity and high alcohol intake are cited as factors we can mitigate.

Furthermore, the charity recommends that living in an area with high levels of air pollution, such as large cities, or an area where you are socially isolated, will increase your risk.

Despite these risk factors, the positive message to get across is that these are all factors, for the most part, under your control, and that even if you are middle-aged, you still have time to change and adapt.

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