Mental Health, Personal Blog

You need to focus on improving your Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a long-lasting chronic disorder. This is where someone has uncontrollable, reoccurring obsessions and compulsions that they feel the need to repeat something over and over. There are usually unreasonable thoughts and fears that lead to the obsessive behavior. There are more than 200,000 cases per year. There is no cure for OCD, but with the right treatment you can control the symptoms. People with OCD usually fall into one of the following categories; washers, checkers doubters and sinners counters and arrangers hoarders.
 
The vicious cycle of OCD:
 
  1. Obsessive thoughts
  2. Anxiety
  3. Compulsive Behavior
  4. Temporary Relief
 
Obsession symptoms
 
  1. Fear of contamination or dirt, fear of being touched by objects others have touched.
  2. Needing things tidy and aligned.
  3. Thoughts of harming yourself or others.
  4. Doubting that you forgot to lock doors or turn something off and have to keep checking.
  5. Having unwanted thoughts
  6. Intense stress when things are tidy and straight.
Compulsion symptoms
 
  1. Washing hands until skin becomes raw.
  2. Checking things repeatedly
  3. Counting in certain patterns
  4. Following a strict routine
  5. Quietly repeating a word or phrase.
  6. Demanding reassurances
 
Symptoms worsen when you are under stress. This is a lifelong disorder that can vary in severity and will also have triggers. There is a difference between being a perfectionist and having OCD.
 
What causes OCD?
 
The cause isn’t completely understood. But some of the theories that could cause OCD would be your body’s biology. OCD could be the change of your body’s brain function and natural chemistry. Environmental factors could also be a trigger.
 
You could also be at risk of developing OCD if any of the following apply:
  • Family History: family members with the disorder can increase your risk.
  • Stressful life events experiencing traumatic or stressful events can increase your risk.
  • OCD can be related to some other mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse.
 
There is currently no way to prevent someone from developing OCD. Getting treatment as soon as possible can help lessen your symptoms. Those with OCD can still experience some health problems, depending on the obsessive-compulsive behavior you may have.
 
  • Health issues from frequent hand washing
  • Inability to attend school or work
  • Poor quality of life
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Troubled relationships
 
Self-Help Ideas
 
Learning how to resist your OCD rituals
 
  • Don’t avoid your fears: Try to expose yourself to your OCD trigger then try hard to resist the compulsive urge. With each exposure your anxiety should lessen, and you’ll have more control.
  • Expect OCD urges: If you expect your compulsive urges, you can help ease them. When the thought returns remind yourself it’s just an obsessive thought.
  • Refocus your attention. When having OCD thoughts, try to refocus your attention to something else. It’s important to keep yourself busy for 15 minutes to delay the compulsive thought.
Challenge Obsessive thoughts
  • OCD causes your brain to “get stuck” on certain thoughts. Write down your obsessive thoughts and worries, when you begin to obsess write it all down.
  • Create a OCD worry period. Develop a habit of rescheduling your obsessions. For example, give yourself 2-10 minute periods of time a day to focus only on those urges nothing else. Don’t try to fix them. The rest of the day besides those 20 minutes of the day for no negativity and if you start to obsess write it down.
 
Make lifestyle changes
  • Mental health conditions exercise, sleep 6-8 hours, avoid alcohol, and drugs. Caffeine, nicotine and practice relaxation techniques such as yoga especially before bed.
 
Reach out for support
  • Stay connected with family and friends and considers joining a OCD support group.
 
Helping someone with OCD
 
You can have a big impact on someone’s life and their recovery. Criticism and negative comments only make OCD symptoms worse. To help someone who has OCD there are some simple but important things you can do.
 
  1. Avoid personal criticism. OCD symptoms are exactly that symptoms it doesn’t mean that a person is flawed. They have a disorder that they can’t control.
  2. When someone is being obsessive don’t get onto them or tell them to stop. They can’t stop and telling someone with OCD to stop makes things worse.
  3. Be kind and patient. Praise someone when they are able to resist the urge to have a compulsive behavior. Focus on positive behavior.
  4. Don’t play along with your loved one’s compulsions, this only reinforces the behavior.
 
While recently diagnosed with OCD, I have said for years that I was OCD. I have a constant need to have everything tidy and organized a certain way. When I see something out-of-place I will stop anything I am doing to fix whatever it may be. I worry about my locks and mainly things being unplugged or things turned off. I can’t even tell you how often I turn around and come home to make sure something if off or I locked a door even though I know it has been. My TV sound, car volume for the radio, heat or air anything that has a number has to be an even number. What I find strange is when I am taking things say like napkins or condiments I have to take 3 or 5 of each. There are times when Dalton gets very frustrated with me especially about the cleaning and organizing things. Our home can be perfectly clean and organized and I will redo it all anyway. especially when I am “up” from my bipolar disorder.
 
“It’s like you have two brains a rational brain and an irrational brain and they’re constantly fighting”- Emilie Ford
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to this picture. I am not a medical professional, if you are having a medical emergency please contact 911 immediately. This post is for informational purposes only. If you believe you have a medical issue contact your local medical provider.

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