Obsessive compulsive disorder self help is impossible without first having a solid understanding of exactly what obsessive-compulsive disorder is. Only when the condition is fully understood is someone with OCD in a position to tackle the root-causes of it, and to successfully overcome it.
What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by obsessions (repetitive, undesirable, unpleasant thoughts) and compulsions (ritualistic behaviours or actions that a person is compelled to carry out).
The latest available statistics suggest that as many as 1 in every 50 Americans suffers with obsessive-compulsive disorder, with almost twice that many experiencing some degree of OCD during their lifetime. OCD can affect both men and women in equal measure and can affect all age groups; it typically worsens over time, so older people with OCD will often have more severe cases than younger sufferers.
The majority of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder experience both obsessions and compulsions, although 10 to 20 percent of people will experience either obsessions or compulsions alone. In most cases the obsessions are the initial problem, and the compulsions develop as a way for the mind to neutralize the obsessive thoughts.
A Closer Look At Obsessions.
Obsessions are typically the catalyst in all cases of OCD – it is the obsessions that trigger the compulsions, and once both obsessions and compulsions are active the vicious circle has begun.
Obsessions are uncontrollable thoughts, invariably involuntary, and they occur repeatedly in a person’s mind. The person experiencing the obsessions will often know that the thoughts make no sense, but they will be powerless to stop themselves continuing to think them.
Common obsessions in people with OCD are fear of contamination, fear of dirt or anything “unclean,” uncontrollable sexual imagery or thoughts that may be unpleasant and impossible to stop, superstitions and excessive attention to things considered lucky and unlucky, and a desire for order and symmetry where things must be positioned or lined up in a particular way or pattern.
A Closer Look At Compulsions.
A compulsion is an action or behaviour that a person is driven to repeatedly perform, and one which they have no power to stop. The compulsions develop as a result of the mind looking for a way to bring an end to the obsessive thoughts, and so there is often a link between an obsession and the compulsion the mind develops in order to stop it. An example of this would be the compulsion a person experiences to wash their hands to bring an end to the obsession that they’ve been contaminated by something unclean or even poisonous.
Treatment For OCD.
They key to treating OCD is to uncover the underlying cause of anxiety that leads to the OCD itself.
In almost all cases, there is some underlying anxiety or fear that drives the person to develop these obsessions and compulsions in order to rid themselves of the unpleasant anxiety they may be experiencing. Once the underlying cause has been discovered, treatment is typically far more successful than in those who try to solve their OCD directly.
If the anxiety is being caused by a specific anxiety disorder, such as health anxiety, agoraphobia, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, or a phobia of some kind, specific treatment appropriate to the anxiety disorder in question will often produce excellent results in eliminating even the most severe cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder self help can and does work, but only once the underlying cause has been found and then addressed.