We have all come across the term OCD, but what is it exactly? OCD, abbreviated from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a kind of mental illness and people with such an illness either have obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors. Some usually experience both. OCD is not like any other bad habits such as nail biting or having negative thoughts. Such a disorder tends to affect a normal life. It may cause a problem in living a normal life by affecting school, job and even relationship. In such a state the thoughts and actions are not within control.
For example, an obsessive thought might include you to feel that your family members might get hurt if they do not follow the particular order of dressing up every morning. Similarly, a compulsive habit might include you in washing your hands a number of times after touching something that may or may not be dirty. Such activities are beyond your control and you might feel powerless.
What are the symptoms?
People with OCD might already know that their thoughts and actions are not making any sense. They just cannot stop and even if they do, they will soon start because they might start feeling sad.
Obsessive thoughts might include the following:
Being aware of every breathing, blinking along with other body sensations.
Fear of getting dirty of germs.
Believing that a certain number or colors are good or bad.
Worry about others getting hurt
Feel the need to put certain things in the exact same order.
Being suspicious of partners unfaithfulness.
Compulsive habits might include the following:
Completing tasks in a specific order or in a certain number of times.
The need to count things such as bottles or steps.
Repetitive checking on things such as locked doors, light switch along with other things.
Fear of using the public washroom or holding hands or doorknobs.
What is the cause?
It is actually not clear why people have OCD. This disorder is most common in women than in men and some part of the brain might not look normal in people with this condition. Symptoms might even appear when one is young, however, stress makes the symptoms worse. Genes may be linked to OCD but are still not known. You may get affected by this disorder in the following situation:
- A family member with OCD.
- Experience of trauma
- Depression or anxiety
- A history of physical or sexual abuse
How to treat OCD?
The primary method of treating OCD includes psychotherapy. Some medications such as antidepressants might also help in reducing OCD. However, before taking any medication, you must consult a doctor as there can be some side effects which might ultimately lead to more complications. A specific therapy is also available for such a condition. It is known as exposure and response prevention and this therapy aims at reducing the obsession thereby treating OCD.
How can you succeed in your OCD treatment?
Here are a few tips to be successful in your OCD treatment.
- Expect the unexpected: You may experience obsessive thought at any time, therefore, you must not be surprised when any old or new thought appears. Use your therapy tools and keep your therapist informed.
- Accept risk: You must be willing to accept the risk and keep in mind that you cannot get rid of it.
- Don’t try to prevent: This will have a negative effect and might lead to more thoughts. According to studies, you cannot stop or push down any of the thoughts. Your main aim should be to think of the thoughts more often.
- Keep your responsibilities to yourself: Do not involve others in your therapy not until your therapist ask you to. They might not always be present for you but you will be there for you.
- Face the fear: The best way to overcome fear is by facing it. It is not possible to run from your fears and so it is best if you face them.
- Reject uncomfortable assignment: You must reject any uncomfortable assignment that your therapist has asked you to do. Also, you must not be afraid to face the fears whenever you can.
- No perfect moment: There is no perfect moment for starting the homework therapy. The perfect moment for starting your homework is whenever you receive them.
- Read the homework every day: Do not assume that you know everything and so you must go through your homework every day.
- Focus: Give your homework your entire attention and feel the anxiety. The homework must not be treated as a routine and done while performing other activities. This will ensure that you are building a tolerance to the things that you fear.
- Do not rush: Take your own time and do not rush through your homework. Your target is not to get done with it but raising a level of anxiety and staying with it.
- Do not forget: Never forget that you have OCD and this implies that it is not possible for you to trust your own reactions. In case you are not sure if you can call it a symptom then you must treat it as a symptom.
- The main problem is the compulsion: The anxiety is not the problem and so the main problem is the compulsion. Once you realize that the compulsions are the real problem then you might stop doing them while staying a fearful situation. This will ensure that the anxiety is going away while you are building tolerance.
Be proud of your efforts and recognize success: Always keep up your motivation. In case you think that you are not making any progress then go through previous assignments that you have completed.