OCD and Beyond
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder with unreasonable and unwanted thoughts becoming a habit. These repetitive behaviors make you feel compelled to perform obsessed activity in all circumstances. Thoughts and impulses in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder are excessive and unreasonable. Yet these intrusive thoughts become difficult to be settled by logic or reasoning.
The recurring thoughts, irrational urges, or images that are experienced; are intrusive and unaccounted for and, for most people, cause anxiety or distress. Individuals often try to ignore them, suppress them, or neutralize them with different thoughts or actions. But it seems like a cassette getting stuck in an old record, causing the brain to get fixated on particular thoughts or urges. These suppressions are accompanied by behaviors that are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or a feared situation. Although the compulsion may bring some relief to the worry, the obsession returns and the cycle repeats over and over. In the most severe cases, a constant repetition of rituals can make a normal routine impossible.
Occurrence of OCD
Obsessive-Compulsive disorder comes in many forms; most cases fall in any one of the below general categories:
- Checking, such as locks, light switches, water-taps, stoves, or thinking that you have a kinda medical condition like pregnancy or schizophrenia that is affecting your behaviour.
- Contamination, fear of things that may be dirty, and a compulsion to clean them. For example, washing your hands until feeling free of germs.
- Hoarders fear that something bad will happen if they throw something away right now. They compulsively accumulate things that they don’t need or use. They may also suffer from other disorders, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, compulsive shopping, kleptomania, ADHD, dry skin, or tic disorders.
- Sort, order, and find symmetry, the need to align things in a certain way.
- Ruminations and intrusive thoughts followed with obsession in line of the thinking process. Some of these thoughts might be violent or disturbing.
Explanation behind OCD
There are several theories as to why OCD develops. Neither of these theories can fully explain each person’s experience of OCD.
Researchers know that OCD is triggered by communication problems between the deeper structures of the brain and the front part of the brain. These parts of the brain mainly use serotonin to communicate and increasing serotonin levels in the brain can help relieve OCD symptoms. However, researchers know that low serotonin levels can cause OCD symptoms, but there are no laboratory tests to diagnose OCD.
Healthcare professionals have tried to assess the possible causes of OCD. Factors that are considered to play a role include head injuries, infections, and abnormal functions in certain areas of the brain. Genes (family history), also seems to play an important role in the development of the OCD sign. A history of physical or sexual abuse appears to increase the risk of OCD.
Some research suggests that people with certain personality traits and attributes may be more prone to have symptoms of OCD. For example, if you are a neat, meticulous, and methodical person with high standards, you are more likely to develop OCD.
Obsessions and compulsions can take over one’s life, and leave the feeling of helplessness. However, there are a few things one can try to help manage OCD and improve their wellbeing. It involves working with your therapist or any other member of your family and friend to break down your problems into their separate parts. And motivating yourself to fight with or face your fears and obsessive thoughts without following the habit of compulsive behavior.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help change thinking patterns. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy is designed to puts you in a situation to create anxiety and set off compulsions. You’ll gradually learn to lessen and then stop your OCD thoughts and actions. Recognizing triggers, learning to resist OCD compulsions, challenging obsessive thoughts, and making few lifestyle changes are few self-help tips that can be used to manage OCD. Simple things like meditation, yoga, and massage can be helpful with stressful OCD symptoms.
Patients and their Family
As OCD impairs patients’ quality of life, family members suffer as well. It is generally observed that people with OCD find their symptoms getting worsened when they are criticized or blamed. These emotions can generate more anxiety in patients. Many types of research indicate that patients’ symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder may create disharmony, anger, or anguished demands by participating in rituals. A draining dependency, restricted access to rooms or living space, difficulty in taking holidays, and interference with work obligations can negatively affect the patients’ environment.
Family members and friends are more supportive and understanding if they are informed about OCD, it is easier to be supportive and understanding. They can be helpful in creating a supportive environment to resist compulsions as much as possible. People with OCD often have complaints that family members don’t understand what it takes to accomplish something, such as cutting down the times of shower or washing hands, or resisting obsessive thoughts. While these small accomplishments may seem insignificant to family members, these are few big achievements for your loved one.
Acknowledgment of these seemingly small gains is a powerful tool that encourages them to keep trying. This not only lets them know that their hard work to get better, is being recognized, it also works as a powerful motivator to cope with the challenges of OCD.
Take online counseling for OCD at TALKTOANGEL, a mental well being platform. Therapists here assess your OCD challenges and issues in planned way and bring positive changes in your life. Make your life better with us.
For all the at clinic counseling, advice, or problem discussions visit us at PSYCHOWELLNESS CENTER. You will get the right help that you need in your life in difficult times. Dr. R.K. Suri is an expert psychologist here with more than 37 years of experience.