With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) you find yourself taking normal everyday behaviour and repeating this behaviour many times over, in some cases occupying many hours every day.
This behavior can include:
Repetitive unwanted thoughts such as worrying about germs and cleanliness, or doubts about their actions such as locking doors or switching off the gas.
Rituals that interfere with normal day to day life.
Repetitive behaviors such as cleaning, washing, counting, double checking, and repeating words silently.
These are ideas, images and impulses that invade your thoughts over and over again. These can be of anything but often the thoughts that are retained and keep coming back are ones of dangerous situations and violence. Some can be quite shocking but there is an inner need to understand these thoughts, to get them out again and examine them repeatedly. You are very aware that they are irrational but you just have to repeat these thoughts.
Your obsessions eventually give rise to compulsive behaviour. As an obsessive thought revolves in your mind you will find yourself performing some kind of ritualistic behaviour that you hope will alleviate the feelings you are having. About 4 out of 5 sufferers will show some kind of compulsive behavior.
The conflict between the obviously irrational obsessive thought and the compulsion to do something to calm that thought give rise to some unpleasant emotions like shame, despair, anxiety and eventually depression.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment
Any treatment has to break this cycle of behaviour either by disrupting the initial thoughts and cutting the link to the out of control corrective compulsions
- Relaxation – allowing your body to go completely calm. This is enhanced greatly by developing a hypnotic trance, so deep relaxation through self hypnosis is very effective.
- Exposure – Behavior Therapy. This involves triggering the obsession but physically preventing the behaviour. The idea is to prepare and be ready for the compulsive behaviour and then deliberately trigger it through gradual exposure. For example, a hand washer might be urged to touch an object they fear is contaminated, and then be discouraged from washing their hands for several hours. The idea is to eliminate or cut down on anxiety and compulsive behavior by repeatedly demonstrating that nothing will happen if the compulsive ritual is not performed.
- You can also make deliberate changes in daily habits and lifestyle in other areas. This is a kind of warm up to the preceding behavior therapy. The idea is again to demonstrate that change is possible and that you can be comfortable with change. You can then take what you’ve learnt and perhaps at an unconscious level you can relate it to your obsessional behavior.