Coping with OCD
OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Most people associate this with excessive and frequent handwashing or perhaps being too clean and tidy. However, it is a much more complex issue.
¼ of a million people in the UK suffer with this condition, to the extent it affects their day-to-day lives. Symptoms include: repetitive behaviors, rituals in order to prevent a perceived harm and/or worry e.g. internal mental counting, blinking, checking light switches, spitting, shrugging, throat-clearing, twitching, checking gas is off, checking doors are locked, counting, tapping, ordering and rearranging, hoarding, asking for reassurance, repeating words in their heads, thinking ‘neutralizing’ thoughts to try and counter the obsessive thoughts etc.
There are 3 main parts to OCD:
An unwanted intrusive and often distressing thought, image or urge which repeatedly enters the mind. These thoughts feel like a stuck record, and they won’t just ‘go away’. Often trying to stop them makes the sufferers anxiety rise.
The obsession causes a feeling of intense anxiety and distress. This could be a fear of hurting themselves or others, e.g. fear of harming others if you leave the gas on and it causes an explosion.
Repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform, due to the anxiety and distress caused by the obsession. These start as a way of trying to reduce or prevent the anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts. The sufferer does realize the behavior is irrational or illogical, but they can’t stop acting on it.
The thoughts that lead to these behaviors can be severely distressing, and lead them to do these rituals for longer and longer each day at a certain time or place. This can take several minutes or even hours. Sufferers can feel guilty or shameful about their condition. It is chronic in up to 70% of cases. Puberty and other hormonal shifts can trigger the condition, as can certain life events such as bullying or bereavement.
Conventional treatment is talking therapies such as CBT or ERP (exposure and response therapy). This is where you are exposed gradually to the subject of the OCD trigger and build up slowly. Anti-depressants such as SSRIs are also used, to help increase the levels of serotonin which can be lower in those who suffer.
Alternative therapies such as hypnotherapy, NLP, mindfulness and EFT tapping can all help too. Homeopathy has many wonderful remedies that can help with the symptoms of OCD and the mental anguish that it can bring to the sufferer and their loved ones too. Bach flower remedies can also be extremely helpful here. Email me to get started.
Charity support: https://www.ocduk.org/