We all do some counterchecking of whether we have locked our doors or cleaned up well. This is different from being obsessive over small details that can interfere with your life. Statistics reveal that 1% of the American population has Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Compulsive tendencies and obsessive thoughts are not easy to break. There is, however, help to reduce the triggers of this disorder. Victims of this disorder suffer unique challenges that range from irrational urges to unwanted thoughts. We will help such victims take charge of their life by discussing what obsessive-compulsive disorder is, the vicious cycle, and treatment options.
What is an obstructive-compulsive disorder?
This falls under anxiety disorders that are characterized by repetitive behaviors ritualized thoughts and actions that make you feel pressured to perform. Doctors say that these thoughts and actions are mostly irrational, but victims can resist them easily. Not many people in this category know that it is a disorder.
Your brain remains stuck on a specific thought or an urge. For instance, some victims keep on obsessing about germs in their hands thus wash them till they are scrubbed raw. Obsessive thoughts stimulate anxiety which makes you repeat something a lot even if you are not deriving any pleasure from it.
Compulsions and obsessions of OCD
These are the two categories of the disorder. Obsessions are impulses that start developing in your mind. Most victims try to repel these ideas, but it becomes impossible to stop them. The obsessive thoughts are distracting and disturbing. They can take away your peace of mind.
On the other hand, compulsions are tendencies that drive you to act repeatedly. You may have tried to eliminate the obsessions in your head with no success. Compulsive rituals are demanding and can waste lots of time repeating things to satisfy your obsessive thoughts.
The vicious cycle
The obstructive-compulsive disorder has a repeated sequence that comprises of obsessive thought, anxiety, compulsive behavior and temporary relief. This cycle keeps on recurring until your life becomes abnormal.
People experience OCD differently. Some are washers who are afraid of germ contamination. Their compulsions revolve around washing compulsions. There are also checkers that obsess on danger or harm. There are also doubters who believe in perfection. In their minds, the lack of perfection leads to something terrible happening.
You could also be a counter and an arranger. People in this group obsess about getting things in order. Their superstitions revolve around arrangements, numbers or colors. The last group is hoarders. They have a habit of hoarding irrelevant stuff they don’t require since they believe that throwing things away could lead to harm.
What are the symptoms of OCD?
The common symptoms of this disorder are fear of not being in control or the fear of harm. Some experience violent thoughts while others concentrate on moral ideas. Some of the symptoms may be overwhelming leading to acting out of impulses and irritability if things are not done in perfection.
How can you treat Obstructive-compulsive disorder?
Don’t avoid your fears
Avoiding your triggers can lead to a scary situation. You should expose yourself to the symptoms of OCD then attempt to delay your urge. This makes you get more relief from your compulsive ritual. Sometimes, it may be challenging to resist your compulsive behavior, but you can minimize how much time you spend on the routine. This reduces your anxiety and gradually puts you in control of your tendencies.
Anticipate your urges
You can also predict compulsive urges before they happen to ease them. For instance, if you are a checker, try to do what you obsess about the first time. Reassure yourself that you have done what is expected. If the urge occurs again, a mental picture helps you relabel your thought as an obsessive one.
Change your attention
Doing something you like can delay your response to the compulsive thought for some time. This strategy reduces the intensity of your urges. For instance, listen to soothing music or surf as soon as you have a compulsive urge.
Journal your obsessive thought
Write down your compulsions and feelings in a journal. Record your precise thoughts as well as the repetitive behaviors that you cannot control. Don’t forget to include the frequency of your repetitive behaviors. This will help you realize how much you have been obsessing over things.
Establish a worry period of OCD
A worry period can help you reschedule compulsions and obsessions. In your day, set up at least ten minutes for your worry period. During that time, concentrate on the negative thoughts you have and purpose to correct them. Use breathing techniques during the worry period and let your worries and urges go. You can now come back to your usual engagements.
Avoid self-medicating with alcohol and drugs to try and reduce the anxiety. Breaking alcohol and Xanax addiction is hard. Reduce the amount of nicotine you consume since these substances interfere with your sugar levels and increase tension.
Get sufficient rest
Most OCD victims have anxiety that can translate to insomnia. Adequate rest can minimize anxious thoughts. You can maintain balanced emotions when you take rest at night. Don’t nap during the day to avoid losing sleep at night.
Get a support group
There are other OCD victims out there. Other people may not understand you but having victims of the same case could give you motivation. You can search for these groups onli8ne and interact with others who have similar obsessions.
Try cognitive behavioral therapy
This therapy concentrates on catastrophic thoughts that may be affecting your urges. Such a therapist can teach you how to respond to obsessive thoughts without reacting to compulsive behavior. The therapy has been found to be effective in treating OCD.
You can also engage in family therapy since the family is also affected by your tendencies. This treatment can boost understanding of what you are going through and minimize conflicts at home. Your family members can understand how to help you cope well.
The obstructive-compulsive disorder does not have to interfere with your life if you follow the strategies above. Consult a doctor if you need medication. Remember that medicines will not treat you if you don’t change your lifestyle. You can do it!