OCD counselling and having a counsellor on hand for those times your OCD can take over your life. That talk and support can be just what you need to help you at the vital time of losing control.
OCD has no boundaries or specific type of person it clings too, it can happen to us all and take over.
Our professional online counsellors are experienced in dealing with men and women suffering from a wide range of OCD issues and are here to listen to you and never judge.
If OCD is affecting or taking over your life or you are spiralling into a dark place that’s getting out of control, speak to one of our OCD counsellors today. We understand exactly what you are going through.
OCD, otherwise known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a type of illness where sufferers begin to obsess over a particular thing in their lives and have obsessive thoughts all the time. An example of this could be cleaning or washing. OCD obsessions can get very intense for the sufferer and the general way that people can overcome these feelings, is to actually repeat something – such as cleaning – until they are satisfied.
There are as many as 640,000 people in the UK that are living with OCD at any one time. With around 320,000 of those people suffering from very severe symptoms of the illness, where as many others only seem to have milder symptoms.
Many people see OCD sufferers as people who just want to clean their homes over and over again or wash their hands constantly. However, the real answer is that OCD is much more complicated than that and is a very complex illness. It can make even the simplest of day-to-day tasks feel like a chore. The biggest obstacle for friends and family is to actually understand the illness and how it works. OCD can also make relationships that bit harder to work with and more time will be needed if you are living with someone, or know someone, with the condition.
OCD is an illness that effects people in a lot of different ways. There are many different symptoms and depending on the type or severity of your case. Although there are different types of the illness, there are some behaviours that are constant and can be seen in most cases.
The four main behaviours found in OCD are:
– An intrusive and uncontrollable thought that enters your mind.
– Feeling stressed and anxious due to the obsession.
– Find a compulsive need to exercise repetitive acts or behaviours because of the stress or anxiety that the obsession has caused.
– Temporary relief from the stress or anxiety is gained from the compulsive behaviour. This cycle repeats when the obsession returns, usually soon after.
With OCD, there are many obsessions that sufferers tend to develop and carry on with for many years, depending on how long the illness effects them. These include:
- Uncontrollable and persistent thoughts
These obsessions can be intrusive into a individual’s life and can make living a real chore. Even when you begin to understand that the obsessions are involuntary, it can be difficult to figure out why you have them. However, on the other hand, you are not likely to act on your troubling thoughts as these obsessions will help to relive you from bad thoughts, however, it’s a vicious cycle.
If you have OCD, you might worry about:
- Catching an illness, especially ones publicized in the media.
- Causing sexual or physical harm to yourself or others.
- The contamination of something (an object, a person etc.).
- Arranging everything in a particular order, be it symmetrical or otherwise.
- Having violent thoughts.
- Causing a road accident whilst driving.
- A bad thing happening unless you check something repetitively.
You may be aware that these worries and fears are irrational, but you will be unable to control them. You might try and fight these above symptoms, however, doing some may cause more harm than good.
Compulsions are what we call natural responses to certain emotions, such as anxiety or feelings of discomfort in different situations or sudden feelings of fear. Examples of compulsions include: mental formalities and physical behavioural traits. When you have compulsive behaviour, it is seen to be structured around a routine in order to prevent any type of danger from taking place. Many people feel like they have a responsibility to complete certain actions.
An example of a compulsion can be explained through cleaning: Many people won’t need to or wont have the need to clean their hands unless they are dirty, however, a person suffering from OCD will keep on washing their hands over and over until they feel clean, which they already were. Another example is that a sufferer might do this to stop the spread of a disease that you have a very low risk of getting.
Here are some examples of OCD compulsions:
The avoidance of people, places or situations to avoid an intrusive thought.
Cleaning to excess (clothes, objects, the house).
Thought patterns or mental exercises that neutralise an obsessive thought.
After a word is spoken, instantly saying another word to counteract a negative repercussion.
The avoidance of sharp objects, such as a knife, to prevent hurting others.
Checking of locks, light switches, radiators etc. to try to prevent the dangers associated with them i.e. getting burgled, electrical fires or pipes freezing.
Compulsions for OCD are put into two categories: covert, which is a mental act or overt, which is physical and can be seen by others. An example of a covert compulsion could be mentally counting for something and an example of an overt compulsion could be over-cleaning or washing.
Types of OCD
With OCD, it can fall under 4 different categories: Hoarding, Contamination, Checking
and Intrusive Thoughts. Below is a more detailed account of each of these categories:
There are things that people with OCD feel the need to check in order to prevent any damages:
- Water taps
- Car, door and window locks
- Gas appliances/canisters
- Wallet, purse or handbag
- Re-reading emails, postcards, letters
The amount of checking that is required will vary on the severity of the condition as well as the sufferer’s experience.
Hoarding is when a person buys or is given lots of items throughout their lifetime (or for the duration of the OCD). It’s not like other people who just get things when and if they need them, with hoarding, people continue to get stuff regardless. They can end up with rooms full of rubbish.
A hoarder is likely to do the following:
- Buy lots of useless items
- Develop an emotional attachment to these things
- Have a limited social life due to the clutter
- Endanger their health by living in unsanitary living conditions
- Put family, neighbours and pets at risk of harm.
Contamination is the over-arcing fear that something needs excessively cleaning over and over, in case a person may catch a disease. People who suffer from OCD and suffer from contamination will fear the following:
- Wearing clothes (shaking them to remove bugs, dead skin etc.)
- Being in a crowd (fear of catching a disease from other people)
- Using toilets (fear of contracting germs and illnesses from other people)
- Shaking hands (fear of catching an illness from other people)
- Touching door handles, banisters etc. (fear of contracting germs and illness from other people).
If you are talking about OCD, ruminations mean a prolonged phase of thinking about a theme or a question that can have a religious or philosophical context. An example of this would be the constant thinking about what happens after death.
These are obsessional, prolonged thoughts that are often troubling in nature. Intrusive thoughts can include sexual or violent harm to loved ones. However, people with OCD are usually the least likely to act on them as they find them so repugnant in nature.
Causes of OCD
Like many illnesses, there isn’t one single cause of OCD, however, there are many different factors that are taken into consideration and the following list have been found to be factors in the development of OCD:
– Stressful situations and traumatic life events can cause OCD.
– In some cases OCD is inherited from parents.
Life changing scenarios
– OCD tendencies can occur when increased responsibility gets too much, E.G. having a baby.
– For meticulously organized people who are already methodically cataloguing their life possessions, you may develop OCD without realizing it.
– Small changes to the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin might play a role in triggering OCD.
Ways of thinking
– Depending on the individual’s moral outlook on life, thoughts like ‘what would happen if I stepped in front of that train?’ or ‘I might harm my partner’ can be a cause of OCD.
Like other illnesses, there is more than one way that you can treat OCD. Counselling is a great way and has been proven to help with the curing of OCD, which can help sufferers take back their lives. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is often deemed the most helpful form of therapy for OCD.
CBT for OCD
With Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the aim of this is to overcome problems via talking. Through talking, you will recognize the way you think and what you can do to start thinking about particular things differently. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy teaches sufferer that it isn’t the bad thoughts that are the main problem, it’s the sufferer themselves and what they are thinking about and how they act upon that.
There are two types of CBT for OCD – cognitive therapy and exposure response therapy:
Cognitive therapy (CT)
Cognitive Therapy is a therapy that is used psychologically that will – hopefully – change the way a person responds to thoughts, rather than getting rid of them altogether. This is particularly good if the sufferer was worrying thoughts, but does nothing about them.
Exposure and response prevention (ERP)
Having exposure and response prevention is a way that can help a sufferer to stop worrying about a certain event or situation. This works by the belief that if you are exposed to your fears, then you will become accustomed to them after a long period of time and you won’t need to do anything rash when face to face with your fear.
Anti-depressants are used to moderate a person’s obsessions and their compulsions. Many people improve with the help of medication. The medication may not be the best answer for you though, as more than half of the people who take it and then stop, fall back into their old ways.
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