Getting Help with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is the pattern of unwanted thoughts, mostly fear (this condition known as obsessions), that leads to repetitive behaviours (this is known as compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions disturb the daily activities of life and cause a significant level of stress in life. OCD also involves intrusive thoughts, which are overwhelming, and the only way a person feels relief from these thoughts is to repeat an action.
People try to ignore obsessions, but this only causes an increase in their anxiety and distress. In response, people do some compulsive acts to ease their stress and to feel some relaxation. People make many efforts to ignore OCD and get rid of unwanted thoughts, but they can't succeed, and thoughts come back and lead to a vicious cycle of OCD; ritualistic behaviour. In most cases, OCD is centred on certain themes, such as a fear of getting contaminated by germs, and this leads to washing hands again and again until they are sore and chapped.
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
OCD is a mental disorder that leads to depression and anxiety and is not bounded by a specific age. People of all ages can be affected by it, and it occurs when a person has stuck in the cycle of obsession and compulsion. Understanding obsession and compulsion is also important because most people have obsessive thoughts and compulsions at some point in life, but it doesn't mean that they are suffering from OCD. When a person is suffering from OCD, the cycle of obsession and compulsion is so extreme that a person consumes a lot of time in it, and it comes in the way of important life activities and acts as hindrances.
Obsessions are thoughts and impulses which come to mind again and again and disturb the person mentally and physically. People with OCD think that these intrusive thoughts have no sense in real life. Obsession and these unwanted thoughts are triggered by some uncomfortable feelings such as fear, doubt, or some intense feeling that all the things have to be done in the proper right way. These obsessions act as a huge hindrance between the important activities of life that may be attached to personal values.
Compulsions are the next part of OCD where a person reacts due to unwanted thoughts or obsessions. People do compulsions to fade away obsessions, so compulsions are repetitive behaviour that a person does intend to get rid of obsessions. Most people who are suffering from OCD realize that the only solution to get rid of obsession is a compulsion; instead of thinking a permanent way, they rely on temporary compulsions and make it a habit. Like obsessions, compulsions are also time-consuming and act as a hindrance between the important activities of life that may be attached to personal values.
Signs and Symptoms
Obsessions and compulsions are part of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, but we can divide their signs and symptoms into the category; obsession symptoms and compulsion symptoms. People may or may not realize that their obsessions and compulsions are excessive or have no sense in reality, but they are time-consuming and act as a hindrance between the important activities of life.
OCD obsessions are triggered by some themes through which a person gets unwanted thoughts. People try to ignore obsessions, but they come in the way when they are trying to think of something important or to do other things. The common symptoms of obsession are
- Fear of contamination
- Need to do things in proper order and symmetrically
- Unwanted and intrusive thoughts including aggressive, sexual, and religious subjects
- Doubting and having difficulty in tolerating uncertainty
- Aggressive thoughts about losing control and harming others or yourself
Compulsion is repetitive behavior when a person is suffering from OCD. People perform these acts to reduce anxiety and depression created by obsessions and prevent themselves from bad happenings. However, compulsions are not permanent solutions but provide temporary relief. To control the behavior after obsessions, you can make a schedule or rules. Compulsions are related to the problem that a person is intended to fix and have some themes. The following are some common symptoms which people perform against obsessions
- Cleaning and washing
- Following a struck routine
- Demanding reassurance
Types of OCD
OCD has four main types; however, they have many other subcategories, but the main four types are Checking, Hoarding, Contamination, and intrusive thoughts.
Checking is the type of obsession in which people check things again and again because they feel to prevent damage. It includes
- Water taps (fear of flood damage to the walls of the house)
- Lights (fear of getting an electric fire)
- Car, doors, and window locks (fear of thieves or getting robbed)
- Has appliances like a cylinder (fear of explosions
- Wallet, purse, or handbag (fear of losing money and personal documents)
- Are reading letters or emails (fear of mistakes)
Hoarding is the compulsion to gather items or objects. It is also considered as Obsessive-compulsive Disorder where the hoarding of things interrupts the daily activities of life—for example, messing up the whole bedroom with different things, so there remains no place to sleep. Sometimes the accumulation of things leaves a significant effect on the social life of an individual.
Contamination is the obsessive fear where a person always feels uncomfortable, such as shaking clothes all the time to remove bugs. It is also an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
These are prolonged thoughts that often create trouble in life. These thoughts often harm relations. The common intrusive thoughts include those surrounding sex, relationship, and religion.
Counseling for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Counselling is very helpful and beneficial for mental disorders. The best counselling therapy for OCD patients is talk therapy. Talk therapy is also known as Cognitive behaviour therapy. A professional therapist will provide you with tools and advice that will help you to change your thoughts and also your behavioral patterns. Another common talk therapy is exposure and response prevention (ERP). ERP helps the individual suffering from OCD to deal with obsessive thoughts without doing compulsive behaviour.