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 that are termed obsessions and repetitive behaviors that are called compulsions.
Living with OCD negatively affects a person’s daily life because the obsessions/compulsions impact day-to-day tasks. OCD also causes a significant level of stress because of the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that the individual believes must be performed in order to feel a sense of relief or calmness. Children and teenagers may not be aware of the excessiveness of their compulsions and obsessions. Although living with this disorder is difficult for the individual, it is also extremely difficult and frustrating for those who serve as the support system of the diagnosed individual.
It can be hard to comprehend why someone cannot stop the compulsions or stop obsessing over ideas and control their thoughts. Individuals diagnosed with OCD usually are 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 causes a cycle of confusion and guilt. Common obsessions can be related to contamination, harm and symmetry; the most common compulsions are cleaning, repetition, checking and arranging.
Helpful reminders for those who serve as a support system for individuals with OCD, according to Helpguide.org.
–avoid making personal criticisms,
–do not scold or tell them to stop performing rituals,
–be as kind and patient as possible,
–do not play along with the rituals,
–keep communication positive and clear,
–find the humor,
–do not let OCD take over family life.
Here are a few tips when dealing with OCD, according to Helpguide.org.
–Resist rituals: do not avoid fears; anticipate urges; refocus attention.
–Challenge obsessive thoughts: write them down; create OCD worry period; relabel, reattribute, refocus, revalue.
–Make lifestyle changes that may ease anxiety: exercise regularly; get enough sleep; avoid alcohol and nicotine; practice relaxation techniques.
–Use a support system: stay connected to family and friends; join a support group.
— Professional treatment: individual, group, family therapy; medication.