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Posted: Monday, September 3, 2018 4:00 am
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder otherwise known as OCD can affect individuals of any age.
It is considered an anxiety disorder causing unwanted excessive thoughts, ideas or sensations which are termed obsessions and repetitive behaviors called compulsions. For individuals living with OCD it negatively affects their daily life due to the obsessions/compulsions impacting day to day tasks.
A significant level of stress is caused from the obsessive thoughts and the compulsive behaviors which the individual believes must be performed in order for them to feel a sense of relief or calm. It is important to remember that children and teenagers may not be aware of the excessiveness of their compulsions and obsessions as an adult with OCD may recognize.
Although, living with this disorder is difficult for the individual, it is also extremely difficult and frustrating for the support system of the diagnosed individual.
Helpful reminders for the support system according to Helpguide.org(2018)
- Avoid making personal criticisms to the individual with OCD.
- Do not scold someone with OCD or tell them to stop performing rituals.
- Be as kind and patient as possible.
- Do not play along with your loved one’s rituals.
- Keep communication positive and clear.
- Find the humor.
- Do not let OCD take over family life.
It can be hard to comprehend why someone cannot just stop the compulsions or stop obsessing over ideas and control their thoughts.
Individuals diagnosed with OCD are usually aware that their thoughts are irrational and unrealistic. However; at times the main struggle comes from being aware that the obsessive illogical thoughts are just that, yet being overpowered when trying to transfer their thoughts/actions causing a cycle of confusion and guilt.
Common obsessions in individuals with OCD can be related to contamination, harm, and symmetry, however; there are numerous others. The most common compulsions are cleaning, repetition, checking and arranging.
Here are a few tips when dealing with OCD according to Helpguide.org (2018):
- 1. Resist OCD rituals
- Do not avoid fears
- Anticipate OCD urges
- Refocus your attention
2. Challenge obsessive thoughts
- Write down obsessive thoughts or worries
- Create an OCD worry period
- Re-label, reattribute, refocus, revalue
3. Make lifestyle changes that may ease anxiety
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid alcohol and nicotine
- Practice relaxation techniques
4. Use a support system
- Stay connected to family and friends
- Join an OCD support group
5. Professional treatment
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
If you or someone you know is living with OCD and it has become unmanageable to work through on your own reach out for help and remember there are different options for treatment.
Monday, September 3, 2018 4:00 am.