Ph: 0414 991 194

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

While it is normal on occasion to go back and double check that the car is locked, sufferers from obsessive-compulsive behaviour also known as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviour which becomes so consuming, it interferes dangerously with daily life. Fortunately, help is available through treatment and self-help strategies that may offer people a chance to regain control of their irrational urges and their lives.

DEFINITION

OCD is an anxiety disorder characterised by many uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and ritualised, repetitive behaviours people feel compelled to perform continually. It causes the mind to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. For these people, no sense of pleasure is derived from performing these repetitive behaviours.

At some point, this behaviour may offer some passing relief for the anxiety generated by the obsessive thoughts. People try to avoid situations that trigger or worsen the symptoms or self-medicate using alcohol or drugs. But while it can seem like there is no escape, obsessions and compulsions can be managed, gaining control of thoughts and actions.

Common forms of obsessive thoughts
  • Fear of losing or not having things you might need
  • Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others
  • Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas
  • Fear of losing control and harming yourself or others
  • Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images
  • Order and symmetry: the idea that everything must line up “just right”
  • Superstitions; excessive attention to something considered lucky or unlucky
Common forms of compulsive behaviours
  • Repetitive need to verify that loved ones are safe
  • Counting, tapping, repeating certain words
  • Doing irrational things to reduce anxiety
  • Repetitive behaviour (double-checking things)
  • Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning
  • Accumulating useless items (hoarding)
  • Ordering or arranging things in a particular manner
  • Praying excessively or engaging in rituals triggered by religious fear

DIAGNOSIS

People who suffers from OCD are conscious that their obsessions are abnormal and excessive, but they are unable to control them. Facing this problem and trying to limit their anxiety, they implement rituals that lead to obsessive-compulsive behaviours. These behaviours can last more than one hour per day and either be physical actions or repetitive thoughts. To reduce stress, these rituals bring temporary comfort and relief to the person.

Besides not being able to function comfortably without these persistent behaviours and realising that their actions are irrational, they try to avoid situations that could exacerbate or trigger the obsession and rituals.

Suffering from OCD can have a negative stigma associated with it and in general, people hesitate in seeking advice. However, effective treatments are available, making diagnosis crucial.

TREATMENT

OCD limits the person’s ability to function conventionally within the community and if left untreated, it can intensify with the person becoming more and more disabled.

An evaluation of depression and anxiety is often recommended. A specialised mental health professional will administer the appropriate tests and questionnaires that can identify OCD. The evaluation may also detect other underlying disorders. Treatments include medication and psychotherapy.

Plaisance Counselling can help you recognise, address and manage your behaviour. I will assist with a therapy program to control the obsession and ritual. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy has been shown to be effective in controlling OCD.

If you or a loved one is suffering from OCD, please contact Plaisance Counselling to discuss your situation.

Jerome Plaisance

Ph: 0414 991 194

Call or fill out the form for your introductory session

 

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