Published on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 05:00
Written by Dr Aminu Magashi firstname.lastname@example.org
I am getting 52 years now and I am very rich. I have been under lots of stress for years due to travels and meetings, and my doctor recently confirmed to me that I am suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Please I need some details.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviours you feel compelled to perform. Like a needle getting stuck on an old record, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge.
Obsessions are involuntary, seemingly uncontrollable thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again in your mind. You don’t want to have these ideas but you can’t stop them. Unfortunately, these obsessive thoughts are often disturbing and distracting.
Compulsions are behaviors or rituals that you feel driven to act out again and again. Usually, compulsions are performed in an attempt to make obsessions go away. For example, if you’re afraid of contamination, you might develop elaborate cleaning rituals. However, the relief never lasts.
Most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) fall into one of the following categories:
1. Washers are afraid of contamination. They usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.
2. Checkers repeatedly check things (oven turned off, door locked, etc.) that they associate with harm or danger.
3. Counters and arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry. They may have superstitions about certain numbers, colors, or arrangements.
4. Hoarders fear that something bad will happen if they throw anything away. They compulsively hoard things that they don’t need or use.
Most people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have both obsessions and compulsions, but some people experience just one or the other.
Common obsessive thoughts in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) include:
1. Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others.
2. Fear of causing harm to yourself or others.
3. Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images.
4. Fear of losing or not having things you might need.
5. Order and symmetry: the idea that everything must line up “just right.”
6. Superstitions; excessive attention to something considered lucky or unlucky.
Common compulsive behaviors in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) include:
1. Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, and switches.
2. Repeatedly checking in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe.
3. Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.
4. Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning.
5. Ordering or arranging things.
6. Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear.
7. Accumulating “junk” such as old newspapers or empty food containers.
Some treatment options are;
1. Exposure and response prevention involves repeated exposure to the source of your obsession. Then you are asked to refrain from the compulsive behaviour you’d usually perform to reduce your anxiety. For example, if you are a compulsive hand washer, you might be asked to touch the door handle in a public restroom and then be prevented from washing. As you sit with the anxiety, the urge to wash your hands will gradually begin to go away on its own. In this way, you learn that you don’t need the ritual to get rid of your anxiety—that you have some control over your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.
2. Cognitive therapy focuses on the catastrophic thoughts and exaggerated sense of responsibility you feel. A big part of cognitive therapy for OCD is teaching you healthy and effective ways of responding to obsessive thoughts, without resorting to compulsive behaviour.