What is obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD?
OCD is best described as an anxiety disorder in which involuntary, unwanted thoughts occur over and over again, leading to repetitive behaviour patterns. These behaviours often take the form of compulsions like constant cleaning of objects, over-frequent washing of hands, and always checking that doors are securely closed and locked when you go to bed – or when you go out.
Some folk also have an obsession with arranging objects in certain symmetrical order, either by numbers, colours, or sizes. Others are afraid to throw anything away in case it may be needed in the future, and many become compulsive hoarders.
The obsessive thoughts and the resultant compulsions together lead to a damaging cycle of anxiety, continuously feeding the obsessive compulsive behaviour, from which it seems there is no escape.
Who does this condition mainly affect?
OCD is regarded as a common mental health condition that affects men, women, and children and can begin at any age. Obsessive compulsive disorder can develop in childhood, but research has shown that it unusually develops around puberty, or in early adulthood.
It is estimated that among adults approximately 1.2% of Americans suffer from OCD, with slightly more women than men having the problem.
Some symptoms and signs of OCD.
It is not unusual for a person, on occasion, to go back and check that the stove is switched off, or that all the doors are locked before going to bed, but these behaviours do not mean that you have OCD. It is only when these and other repetitive behaviours disrupt your daily life that a problem may exist.
Here are some obsessive thoughts and compulsions which may indicate OCD:
· Fear of being contaminated by germs and dirt which leads to continuous cleaning, or washing of hands.
· Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas can make people vulnerable to unhealthy rituals and cults.
· A fear of losing, or not having something you may need, can cause a compulsion to hoard junk and not throw anything away. This can result in serious problems in the family and the home.
· An obsession to arrange, order, or pack things in perfect symmetry.
· Paying a great amount of attention to superstitions, and worrying excessively about what may be lucky or unlucky, is another sign of possible OCD.
Most people with OCD have both obsessions and compulsions, but some may just have one or the other. A diagnosis of OCD requires the presence of obsessions and/or compulsions which are constantly present, and cause problems in the home, at work, or social occasions.
Getting help for obsessive compulsive disorder.
There is help available for OCD, but unfortunately many people do not seek help because they are embarrassed or ashamed of the condition. If that is the way you feel, know that there is nothing to feel bad about, as OCD is a health condition just like any other, but unless you get help it has the potential to completely take over your life.
There are two basic ways for treating OCD:
· Medication by means of an anti-depressant that may help by altering the balance of certain chemicals in the brain. It could take time to find the right meds for you, and then taking the meds may be ongoing, mainly because medications don’t always get to the root causes of the problem.
· Psychological therapy, a highly recommended treatment, is usually a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy. CBT engages only about 10% of the mind, while the tools of hypnosis engage the subconscious to include the other 90% of the mind. There are therapists who use a special type of CBT model which is combined with hypno-psychotherapy, and has the benefit of working with the subconscious for more powerful and rapid results.
Hypnotherapy is an excellent way to get to the root causes of OCD, and begin dealing with the related fears and anxiety.
If you, or any members of your family, suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, hypnotherapy might just be the solution to the problem. Hypnotherapy provides a stable means to manage various situations that normally cause an obsessive response leading to compulsive behaviour.