28 Jun Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
DEALING WITH OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER
Are you sure it is OCD?
1. Do you feel anxious and uncomfortable most of the time?
2. Do you catch yourself hooked on one thought?
3. Are you indulging in the same course of action over and over again even if you don’t
4. Are you spending more than an hour of the day doing something you don’t enjoy?
5. Are you physically hampering yourself due to your uncontrollable thoughts?
Stick through the article to know more!
Introduction to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
OCD is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder that exhibits a pattern of an unwanted obsession of thoughts and fears which consistently hover causing a compulsion to act upon it. This act of constantly thinking about and acting is a way to steam-off anxiety.
The worst part about OCD is that it is a vicious loop. When you recognise your compulsive behaviour, you try to not indulge in doing so which in turn causes anxiety. It is like when a needle is stuck in an old record, OCD causes the brain to get stuck on a particular urge.
In extreme cases of OCD, it becomes quite challenging to carry on with daily-life activities. An example of OCD would be the obsessive need to wash your hands. It is okay to wash your hands before a meal or after washing the dishes. But it gets serious when all you could think
about is washing your hands. It gets severe when a particular thought overpowers your needs to do other things. Now, you may try to avoid doing so by indulging in alcohol or you may try to self-medicate yourself. What you need is professional help and guidance.
The first step is categorising yourself!
Categories of OCD
These impertinent thoughts and behaviours have a theme to them. Often, these themes overlap with each other.
Although there are several categories of OCDs, yet there are traditionally 5 themes into which a person’s OCD will fall into-
Checkers- Do you check the lock on your door 10 times a day and still don’t feel it’s
Hoarders- Is it too hard to throw a used pen?
Washers- Is it still not clean enough?
Counters- Do you walk your steps every time you walk?
Doubters- Is everyone coming after you?
Is this how OCD kicks in?
Symptoms of OCD
1. The primary symptom of OCD is having anxious thoughts and practising ritualistic behaviour. These thoughts and behaviours are uncalled for.
2. Often OCD causes hyperattention. People get extra conscious about breathing, blinking and other sensations.
3. People go through extreme anxiety and try to socially isolate themselves.
4. Most often OCD is attached to mental agitation but extreme cases lead to physical problems like scraped skin due to overwashing one’s hands.
5. Other symptoms include the usage of repetitive words, a meaningless routine of pronouncing gibberish words, hypervigilance, impulsivity and persistent need to do something.
6. More than often OCD is accompanied by depression and extreme anxiety.
Oh well, that’s what it’s all about!
Causes of OCD
According to research, there’s no one reason for what causes OCD. Yet there are a few identifiable causes to OCD-
An important aspect of OCD is a trigger. There’s always a pattern of thoughts attached to
ritualistic observation. Things that excite this pattern is called a trigger.
The first step in diagnosing OCD is identifying the triggers.
This trigger, in turn, starts a cycle of unwanted thoughts and behaviours.
Self Help Strategies to deal with OCD
Dealing with OCD is all about breaking a set pattern of thoughts. An important aspect to improve the quality of life is replacing obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours with a productive and beneficial course of action. So, start with taking a deep breath. Sit back and
1. Identify the Triggers- Acknowledge the situations that cause you anxiety. When you acknowledge them you make a solid mental note to yourself. So the next time these anxious thoughts arise, you can move on by labelling the as obsessive thoughts. For example, if you have a constant need to check locks or appliances, acknowledge your thoughts the first time. Make a mental note and avoid further urges.
2. Journal- Maintain a notebook or an audio folder and rant all your thoughts into them. Talk about how at ease you feel after carrying out the activity in question. Record yourself talking about it. Then go through it every day for over an hour until you don’t feel the anxiousness anymore. It’s challenging but all it requires is practice.
3. Reward and Recondition- Become the master of your own self! Punish yourself with something you don’t like whenever you find yourself caught up in the chains of obsessive behaviour. At the same time reward yourself for not doing so! For example, make yourself solve 5 mathematical problems for indulging in washing your hands for more than 3 times an hour (initial stage) and allow yourself to eat a bar of
chocolate for doing it only once every hour. Gradually, work up your targets!
4. Make Lists- Maintain a list of things that you have in the day. Try to include more tasks that can practically be achieved. keep yourself involved in completing and finishing up those tasks. Avoid indulging in repetitious behaviour and don’t let yourself fall behind on your tasks.
5. Schedule Overthinking- Keep a session of thinking about anxious thoughts and compulsive behaviour. It could be once 10 minutes a day or thrice 20 minutes a week. Make sure you are improving.
6. Lifestyle Changes- Get yourself to exercising and eating healthy. Set personal and professional goals and keep track of what’s going on in and around you. Practice relaxation techniques.
The most important of all is reach out for help! No one’s a better judge of you than you. Talk to your friends, get professional guidance, join self -help groups and give it all. Consider therapy or even online counselling for better availability and easy access.
The Professional Way Out
The Therapeutic route towards diagnosing OCD
MEASURE 1: COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY– It is understood to be the
most effective treatment of OCD.
BUILDING A FEAR LADDER OR EXPOSURE AND RESPONSE PREVENTION TECHNIQUE– ERP is precisely about exposing you to the origins of your obsessive thoughts and behaviours. After a few sessions of understanding your behaviour and thought patterns, your therapist will make an anxiety ladder of your triggers. What this means is a chart of scored fear intensities which are linked to a particular situation. The lowest level of the ladder will have a task that makes you feel the least anxious. The highest level of the ladder will have a task that makes you feel the most anxious. Covering your way up the ladder will be everything about the therapy.
COGNITIVE THERAPY– This technique focuses on your irrational patterns of thoughts. A major part of cognitive therapy includes teaching healthy and productive responses to obsessive thoughts.
MEASURE 2: MEDICATIONS– In extreme scenarios, it is advised to turn to medications. Alongside therapy, antidepressants have proved to help the treatment of OCD.
Scroll your way into therapy!
Choose therapy online.
If you can order a fruit basket online then ordering a therapist to be there for you isn’t a big
deal! So log in and click yourself a therapist.
At times of pandemic like this, online therapy seems to be the last resort.
Time and again research has shown that online counselling is as effective.
It doesn’t require the fuss of transportation or dressing up every day. It’s all you and
all for you. Online therapy is flexible and accessible at the same time.
It is a very convenient option for people who live in remote areas.
It is pretty affordable. Teletherapy doesn’t require you to necessarily have a clinical
condition. It could be just about having someone to talk to for your mental wellbeing.
Hey! Here’s your package!
Takeaways from the session.
1. Have a better frame of mind.
2. Improve your ways to go about life.
3. Ensure yourself a safe space.
4. Have help at your fingertips.
5. Find yourself a friend.
Count your questions away!
FAQs about OCD
1. Is OCD inherited?
Research shows that genes are likely to play a role in the development of the disorder.
Genes are only partly responsible yet it is speculated that OCD is more likely a
combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental influences.
2. What are the risk factors for OCD?
Although the causes of OCD are unknown, risk factors include: