Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD for short affects approximately 2-3% of adults living in America. It is often accompanied by other anxiety disorders such as depression and eating issues.
OCD is associated with stress because the persistent upsetting thoughts or rituals sufferers experience and undertake actually produce anxiety and visa versa.
This is a little strange as often, especially where the rituals are concerned; the obsessive behavior is designed to actually temporarily relieve anxiety. However, as most of its sufferers will confirm it is not a rational condition.
The Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Persistent thoughts (obsessions) – Example: a fear of germs could lead to obsessive washing of hands over and over again
- Carrying out compulsive rituals over and over again – Example: Touching things a certain amount of times, doing things in a certain way. The rituals can become so bad that they take over the sufferer’s life completely, preventing them from holding down a job.
obsessive hand washing .
OCD can come and go for some people and so not cause them much difficulty in coping with the occasional bout. However for others it can take over their lives, often forcing them to over indulge in comfort foods, alcohol or drugs in the search for some temporary relief. This however will only make things worse in the long run of course.
Some of the obsessive thoughts can be scary:
- They may experience thoughts of harming members of the family
- Have thoughts about doing prohibited things
- Having thoughts about having sex with inappropriate people
Many people may be afraid to confess that they have these thoughts but there is nothing to be ashamed of, they are a product of excessive anxiety.
Sometimes the sufferer may also get pains in the chest leading them to believe they are having a heart attack. It is important to note that if you do experience any of these symptoms that you are properly diagnosed by a doctor, in case there are underlining health issues.
Treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
This is a complex problem and one which needs to be treated by professionals in this field. For many people psychotherapy works well, where they are slowly desensitized over time to their rituals and anxiety causing obsessions. However because anxiety is the cause of your OCD using a method which helps you overcome your anxiety will ultimately help you beat this disorder.
However there are a group of people who do not respond to this treatment and new research is being undertaken in the field of brain stimulation and other combinations of therapies.
Learning to practice relaxation techniques and find ways of coping with stress is very important and should be pursued thoroughly. A relaxed mind is less anxious and if anxiety is reduced, the likelihood that such damaging persistent thoughts occurring is less likely or can at the very least be reduced.