Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) & Learning How to Cope with It

Posted by admin on May 2, 2017

Many people joke that when they become fixated on something they have “OCD.”  It is a fairly common “joke,” and yet, anyone that has OCD knows it is no laughing matter.  OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as follows, “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.”  Obsessive compulsive disorder may be something that is frustrating or it may be something that is incredibly disabling, there is a wide range.

OCD is not something that will show up in any biological tests, it is something that must be evaluated by a physician and a counselor.  A qualified mental health professional will look at common symptoms and how it impacts daily life to make a diagnosis.  Common symptoms include:

  • Fear of germs, dirt, contamination
  • Needing things to be symmetrical or orderly
  • Aggressive or negative thoughts about harming yourself or someone else
  • Fixation or excessive worry about the safety of others
  • Worry or fear of throwing away or getting rid of objects, regardless of their value
  • Compulsive cleaning of yourself or places around you/places in which you dwell
  • Compulsive checking and re-checking of things such as locks, stove, objects that are plugged in
  • Compulsive repeating of phrases, names, or activities
  • Obsessive mental rituals (things to calm you down, excessive replaying of conversations/dwelling on interactions, obsessive praying or spiritual rituals)
  • Obsessive counting
  • Obsessive orderliness
  • Obsessive adherence to a strict routine

These are an assortment of potential symptoms but may include other symptoms as well.  There does appear to be a genetic link with OCD so if you know of a family member that has had OCD, you may be at a higher risk of the disorder.  Additionally, individuals that have experienced abuse or other trauma may be at an increased risk of OCD.

If you are diagnosed with OCD, you are not alone and you are not out of options or hope.  There are many ways to treat OCD as well as coping mechanisms to help you manage symptoms.  Typically, OCD is treated with prescription medication, counseling, or a combination of both.  Cognitive behavioral therapy that includes expose and response prevention can help dramatically improve the daily life of someone with OCD.  Don’t let self-doubt, guilt, or shame of your symptoms hold you back from getting the counseling that you need.  There is a difference between a “perfectionist” and someone with obsessive or excessive thoughts and behaviors. At Diebold Behavioral Counseling, you will be met with acceptance and be equipped with the tools necessary to overcome your OCD.

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