Coping with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Image

Every now and then I’m sure you’ve heard some say, they’re “So OCD…” etc.

It’s almost as if ‘OCD’ is a mainstream term we use to refer to ourselves in a rather affectionately, derogatory sense often times. This is a shame as those who really do suffer with OCD, as opposed to our labeling of somebody because we “think” they have it, suffer greatly.

Interestingly, when you know what OCD actually is, you only usually ‘get’ the obsessive part of the equation.

Such examples of this are constant washing of hand, opening and closing of doors and windows, asking the same question repeatedly.

OCD is a long-lasting disorder and impacts severely those who suffer from it and other family members or those that provide care.

So then…

 

WHAT IS OCD?

Compulsive Hand Washing Concept ImageIf you look into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) for OCD, you will find Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) being a true mental health disorder which is characterized by several symptoms that persist over time.

The symptoms associated with OCD include obsessions that are reoccurring in the form of thoughts, and compulsions that are the behaviors one engages in over and over, and are often times uncontrollable and many times triggered automatically.

When one obsesses, it’s usually over their thoughts, urges or mental images that are irrational, and can create anxiety. Those diagnosed with OCD suffer with anxiety to begin with so as you can see if their actions caused by OCD induce more anxiety then they’re in a vicious and spiralling cycle.

OCD thoughts are often times one of anger or deprecation towards oneself, having to be perfect due to not wanting to fail or let others down, worries about germs or getting ‘dirty’, and having ‘wrong thoughts’ about sex, people, religions or other races, which leads to feelings of guilt and shame for having these thoughts.

It seems that once one starts obsessing, they obsess over trying to stop obsessing which perpetuates the problem and makes it worse. This in turn leads to a further state of anxiety.

Compulsions are the acts individuals engage in with the hopes of making the obsessive thoughts go away, or at least relieving the tension associated with those thoughts. Often times, these obsessions include repetitious acts such as pacing, cleaning, counting, checking things, arranging things over and over so they ‘appear perfect’, and also chanting/mantras, as if to ‘will’ the negativity away, or seek some sort of forgiveness from thine self.

You can see once these obsessions and compulsions start, they can become very taxing and tiring for someone trying to go about living their everyday lives!

Often times, stress is the underlying cause for why someone develops OCD.

The OCD may be a by-product of their anxiety as well, and literally the two go hand in hand. When someone is feeling ‘anxious’ this is when their OCD kicks in and when the anxiety becomes more visible.

 

COPING WITH OCD THOUGHTS:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Sign ImageCertainly, when somebody is in the throes of an OCD episode which is generally harmless to them and others they can be interrupted with gentle intervention. In these instances, they may not be even aware they’re engaging in one of their OCD rituals.

But relying on others to control and stop the OCD thought is not addressing the issue and helping the individual with OCD.

Most treatment protocols for OCD involve pharmaceutical medications to help ‘calm’ the mind.

Some individuals use CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to help them monitor their moment to moment irrational thoughts which lead to the feelings of anxiety so the thoughts can be changed to more positive ones.

Progress continues to be made on more effective and safer medications and a psychiatrist will be able to explain and offer the latest pharmaceutical options.

For more severe cases of OCD not responding to medication or CBT then alternative options include brain surgery, gamma knife procedure and deep brain stimulation using electrodes – Yes, all serious procedures of course but for people experiencing OCD at this level the aim here is to make life bearable.

Hypnosis can be an exceptional tool for helping individuals deal with OCD.

Post-hypnotic suggestions, as well as immediate identification for repeated triggers (those that lead to the anxiety and obsessive thoughts) can help create a change in one’s mindset. The negative triggers would now be perceived as a sign for the unconscious mind to remind the conscious mind that positive thoughts are now the way of the day!

While anybody suffering from OCD should seek professional help there are also steps you can take yourself. It’s not as important to know why you have these compulsions as to understand what is happening when you feel them, and how to deal with it.

You can learn self-hypnosis techniques to deal better with your OCD. One session to check to determine if it could help you can be found here >>>

 

FURTHER RESOURCES:

How is OCD Treated?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Medication Treatments
OCD – Causes and Effects

 
Erika Slater CH
Director
Free At Last Hypnosis
Massachusetts

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