Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is defined as the occurrence of unwanted and intrusive obsessive thoughts or distressing images. These are usually accompanied by compulsive behaviours performed to undo thoughts or images. In the context of DSM-5, obsessions involve recurrent and persistent thoughts which are seen as distressing. People who experience these intrusive thoughts or images try to take measures to neutralize or the decrease the feelings of distress generated by these intrusive or recurrent thoughts.

Compulsion are the repetitive behaviors to reduce these feelings employed by the individual. These behaviours are overt in nature. Thus, it can be concluded that a person becomes the prisoner of his own thoughts. One’s mind is preoccupied by the thoughts that cause impairment in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning.

A few ways to overcome obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are as follows

Identify trigger

The first step to overcome OCD is to know the trigger which causes obsession and compulsion to manifest. For instance, one has a fear of germs and repeatedly washes hands to reduce the distressing feelings. Here, one needs to find out what is the reason for triggering this thought which could touching the railing, touching the floor, using the public restrooms etc.; by knowing the triggers one anticipates the actions before urges for instance-one has a habit of checking the gas stove repeatedly before leaving. Thus, to ease one’s worries, one can create a strong mental picture.

Build fear ladder

Once recognizing the triggering factors, ponder over on the end goal. Taking the earlier example of a gas stove; one needs to go to work without worrying about leaving gas on so this becomes the end goal. In order to build the ladder first, one needs to break down the end goal into small steps. The information which is used by the individuals to identify triggers and construct a list from least scary to most scary. The individual may find it hard at first but not too frightening to the point of not trying.  

Manage stress

It’s been considered that people who suffer from OCD tend to take more stress. So, the biggest challenge lies to overcome stress and therefore stress coping techniques or developing emotional resilience are suggested to employ. For this, different types of relaxation techniques are used such as deep breathing or count till ten. Another way suggested is to go out without cellphones. Try to read a book, spend time with your friends and families or engaging in hobbies. All this helps in reducing stress.

Challenging lifestyle

Sound sleep is essential to reduce the effects of OCD. It is been asked to avoid cellphones, laptops and television before going to sleep. The individuals who are more active tend to have sound sleep. Hence, a little exercise doesn’t hurt a little. Exercising helps in refreshing one’s mind that allows one to work efficiently. Avoid intake of foods with high sugar as high sugar in body disrupts sleep patterns whereas low sugar leads to a drop in blood pressure that can bring fatigue. A balanced diet is necessary.

Re-examine one’s responsibility

In Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, different methods to overcome OCD are shown instead of facing their worst fears. These strategies are given by Adam Radomski. According to him, one should think about their responsibility or to which extent they feel responsible. Radomski has asked people to take a step back and think about the causes that makes them feel responsible. For instance-someone has a habit of repeatedly checking electrical appliances as one sees his responsibility to protect family. Thus, we can ask the person to adopt a broader perspective that others also share this responsibility such as the electrician who installed wires in the house, neighbors and other members of the family.

Repetition makes one less sure

In wordings of a common man, they say that repetition makes you sure about the things but research has provided different results. Research in Canada and the Netherlands has shown that repeated checking of things makes one less confident about the things. Adam has talked in his books about experiments that one day one should try to force oneself to not repeatedly check things and thereafter rate their feelings on a scale of 1-10 and see how one feels after this experiment. He further added that most people have done this experiment and found that their urges to engage in compulsive behaviour declined.

Reach for support

It is said that one’s illness gets worse when they feel alone hence, one should build a strong support system. They say one’s problem gets reduced when they have friends and family around them. Talking face to face minimizes worries and they appear less threatening. One can also join social support groups to feel connected with people.

As it is said that one loses the battle first in his mind rather than in reality. It means that whenever any illness affects individuals, it’s the battle in the mind that one finds more challenging than the battle in physical aspects. The loneliness which one undergoes leads to the manifestation of negative thoughts and a support system is required to ward off such negative thoughts.

The main challenge for the person while suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder is to control those unwanted, intrusive and recurrent thoughts that produce impairment in daily functioning. There are several therapies which are administered by therapists to help out the individuals suffering from OCD. Consult and trust a psychologist to overcome this problem.

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