Most people feel anxious from time to time and one of the side-effects of this is that we may run the same thought over and over in our heads. However, sometimes this happens more than is normal. If you notice that this is happening to the extent that it is affecting your quality of life and triggering unusual and compulsive behaviours, you may want to consider the possibility that you are suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
What is OCD?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a condition characterised by obsessive thoughts which a sufferer attempts to reduce through compulsive, repetitive and often irrational behaviour. Sufferers desperate to shift these nagging negative thoughts effectively over-compensate in their attempts to shift it. OCD symptoms are not only unpleasant for the sufferer, but can cause distress to those around them. Many OCD sufferers develop severe depression as a result of their OCD.
How do I know if I have OCD?
If obsessive thoughts and actions are preventing you from leading a normal life, you could have OCD. For instance, you may be disproportionately concerned that your house will burn down and attempt to quash your anxiety by repeatedly checking that your oven is turned off. You might be so afraid of contaminating food that you clean your whole kitchen twice a day. You may be so terrified that your child will fall out of her cot that you get up six times a night to check on her, even though each time you find her sleeping peacefully. Or you might infuriate and alienate colleagues by repeatedly asking if your work is up to scratch because you are terrified you are going to lose your job, thus making your situation worse and a dismissal more likely. Compulsive behaviours designed to fight anxiety in OCD quite often make matters worse.
What can I do about OCD?
OCD treatment involves controlling a sufferer’s anxious thoughts and the ritualistic behaviour they provoke. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a particularly effective way of doing this because it introduces a new, healthier system to replace the old, counterproductive cycle of anxious thoughts and compulsive behaviours. There is still a system in place, but this time it is a positive one. A therapist can help you to distinguish between reality and illusion, and identify when your thoughts and behaviour are irrational and/or unnecessary.[ultimate_spacer height=”30″]