Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder that can range in severity and have a very profound effect on the lives of those who are living with it. Let’s take a look at what OCD is, how it may manifest, and how you can use therapy to work through your OCD.
Recognizing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
OCD, like most anxiety disorders, is not always noticeable in someone’s physical appearance. There may certainly be signs that are related to the obsessive behaviors; for example, someone who has a hand-washing compulsion may have hands that are washed raw.A person who is struggling with OCD will have irrational thoughts, ideas, and even feelings; these are their obsessions. These obsessions then drive, or compel, the individual to behaviors that can provide a form of temporary relief for the thoughts that are causing them great anxiety. If the individual isn’t able to carry out their ritualistic behaviors, this can lead to increased levels of anxiety.OCD can take so many forms that it is difficult to list even a small percentage of them. Some of them may include anxiety about germs, which leads to repeated hand-washing and avoidance of people and areas that could be contaminated. Some individual’s OCD manifests in behaviors that include the need to repeatedly touch items before leaving a room, sometimes they may count to a number that holds importance to their ritual. Sometimes the anxiety is related to negative thoughts that insist the individual did not turn off the stove or shut off the shower before leaving their home; resulting in multiple trips back inside to satisfy what their inner voice is telling them to do.
Getting Treatment For OCD?
Without reaching out for professional help, OCD can sometimes make life incredibly challenging for those who live with it. You may recognize that your behaviors and patterns are illogical and excessive but it can still be difficult to admit when you may be in need of professional help.
A range of medications and therapeutic options can help those who are living with OCD. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications have shown to be effective in helping with the treatment of obsessive behaviors.
Therapy is perhaps the most effective means of treating this often debilitating anxiety disorder. When you work with your therapist, your therapist is very likely to use several methods of addressing your obsessive compulsions. Methods will vary between therapist and patient, but could include some of the following:
Getting to the root cause of your OCD; this may involve delving into past traumas and other unresolved concerns from your childhood.
Repetitive exposure of the individual to the various situations and occurrences that tend to trigger their obsessive thinking patterns.
Your therapist will offer you support that will help you with the process of gradually coming to tolerate the situations and occurrences that can trigger your obsessive thinking patterns. This will help you to gradually develop a tolerance to your anxiety.
You will ultimately learn to not just tolerate and ignore your anxiety but you will also be able to resist the strong compulsion to complete your obsessive behaviors and patterns.
Breathing exercises and mediation are also very useful methods of learning how to control the symptoms of OCD.
Developing a trusting relationship with a therapist will go a long way towards helping you to work through your OCD. It is very rare to completely rid yourself of the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder; however, therapy can help to put you firmly in the driver’s seat of control over the way in which it affects your life.