What Is OCD Or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Signs To Detect Compulsions And Obsessions

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an increasingly common type of anxiety disorder, where exaggerated ideas or beliefs dominate the life of those who suffer from it. Find out.

What is OCD and how can we deal with it?

People with a obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD they are usually ‘obligated‘ to carry out a series of rituals that harm them in their daily lives. Furthermore, the obsessions that dominate them often end up dominating their lives. Therefore, it is important to detect it in time to be able to work on these compulsions or obsessive thoughts.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

According to psychology, the obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD It is a mental illness that causes in the person who suffers from it a series of obsessive sensations or thoughts or the need to do an act over and over again, that is, through compulsions. In some cases people may have both obsessions and compulsive behavior.

An example of compulsion on people or things obsessive compulsive disorders would be having obsessive thoughts around certain numbers or colors, which are perceived as ‘good‘ either ‘bad‘. Another example could be the compulsion to wash your hands many times after touching something that, according to the perception of the person who has these obsessive ideas, is dirty. Although people may have this obsession with cleanliness or these compulsions, the reality is that they cannot stop these types of attitudes.

Symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder

On many occasions, the OCD symptoms They can appear gradually and end up being very long-lasting if they are not treated. In many cases, people with some types of OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder often experience obsessions, compulsions, or both. In all cases in which one suffers from OCD and its illness, this kind of ‘obsessional neurosis‘ ends up interfering in many areas of life, whether professional or in relationships with others.

He Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) It is classified within anxiety disorders. This disorder is clinically characterized by having both an obsession and a compulsion present.

1. Obsessions

Obsessive thoughts, intrusive and recurring images or ideas that generate great suffering in the person who experiences them, since these are not voluntary in nature, but are experienced as “constant thoughts that invade consciousness and cause persistent fear or concern about an idea or event“.

2. Compulsions

Compulsive behavior involves being under the influence of repetitive behaviors or repetitive mental acts that are carried out in order to try to reduce the anxiety caused by obsession. They are irrational acts responsible for maintaining the problem.

Symptoms of ocd

Several scientific studies show that obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD It is mentally and physically exhausting since people who suffer from it feel guilty for their abnormal behavior, also constituting a problem that is difficult for family and friends to understand, because in many cases very exaggerated ideas or behaviors can develop and apparently very strange for the environment. the person who suffers from it, which in turn translates into greater anxiety, which adds to that already generated by the disorder itself.

You may be interested:  Motivational Process: What it Is, Stages, and Theories That Explain it

Characteristically, the person who suffers from it is capable of occasionally understanding that the thoughts that he has and the acts or compulsions he performs are exaggerated and not very logical, despite which at other times, the constant doubt that characterizes this disorder leads the person to relapse into the same cycle of thoughts (obsessions) and actions, whether physical or mental (compulsions).

This cycle without end of obsession and compulsion It can trigger extreme anxiety, which may secondary lead to mood changes (depressive states), alterations in self-image and self-esteem. All of this greatly alters the quality of life of these people, generates great suffering, and often causes temporary or even permanent work incapacity.

Differences between worries and obsessive ideas

There are people who live in a continued concern for one or more aspects of your life: family, work, etc. Sometimes this concern is so high that it causes problems such as stress, anxiety or sleeping problems.

In the concerns, the person constantly and voluntarily thinks about a certain issue in order to find a solution, so they are not scared when they think about them. In people who suffer from OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder, these ideas are considered intrusive (they are not voluntary) and the person does everything possible to try to eliminate them, due to the suffering they cause. In this case, the obsessions They are not present in order to solve any problem, but they themselves are the problem.

When does Obsessive Compulsive Disorder appear?

Currently it has been estimated that approximately 2% of the population suffers from it and it is the fourth most common mental disorder despite which it is still considered clearly underdiagnosed.

The fundamental risk factor is having a personality with an obsessive trait (very self-demanding people, with rigid thinking, scrupulous, extremely respectful of the rules, etc…).

When a compulsion or obsession typical of OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder begins to occur, it usually occurs in childhood; however, it is in adolescence when symptoms are more obvious becoming well defined between 20 and 30 years of age, its development being rare after 40 years.

It is a difficult problem to detect by the characteristics it presents People who suffer from OCD are reluctant to talk about their symptoms, so they usually seek help many years after the problem appears.

Most recurrent obsessions in OCD

Types of OCD

Normally the obsessions They deal with a topic of great importance for those who suffer from them, being ideas that the person considers dangerous to have or intolerable, which generates a situation of great anxiety and gives rise to compulsions with the aim that this anxiety decreases.

Obsessions and compulsions within obsessive compulsive disorder and its examples The most common are the following.

Most frequent obsessions

  • Fear of dirt, disease and contamination
  • To be in danger
  • Fear of causing harm to others
  • sexual obsessions
  • Need for symmetry
  • abstract matters.
You may be interested:  Trypophobia or Fear of Holes, What is This Phobia so Unknown?

Most frequent compulsions

  • Washing, cleaning and disinfection
  • Repetition of an action
  • Count
  • Verification
  • Order and symmetry
  • Accumulation
  • Cognitive rituals (continuous reasoning, mental checks, repetition of thoughts, counting, doing calculations…)

Compulsions of type cognitive ritual have been less taken into account classically, since since they are not motor compulsions, they have been underdiagnosed in many cases, considering these people as pure obsessives, this situation being quite rare, since in those people with obsessions without compulsive motor acts , in a large percentage of cases there are mental acts that are.

Is a person with OCD dangerous?

OCD develops as a result of intrusive or exaggerated thinking like the ones that we all have normally at any time, but that in a normal person does not cause any anxiety, since it is simply considered what it is, exaggerated or absurd, and is forgotten.

The problem is that the person with OCD identifies with that thought and he attributes great importance to it, considering what he is thinking intolerable, and making a catastrophic interpretation of said thought, which generates great anxiety.

For reduce this anxiety, the person performs cognitive or behavioral rituals (compulsions) that cause the anxiety that the person feels to decrease in the short term. But after a short time, the person returns to having the same obsessive and intrusive thoughts and once again identifies with them, starting this cycle again, which tends to maintain the problem. Below we can see schematically how this disorder develops and maintains.

Therefore the processes on which the origin and maintenance of OCD is based are the following:

1. Intrusive thoughts (IP)

Are harmless repeated thoughts or images since these are neutral stimuli, but they generate great suffering for the person, due to the interpretation that the person suffering from OCD subsequently makes.

2. Catastrophic interpretations (CI)

They are the ones that really produce the experienced anxiety by the person, who assigns excessive importance to the thoughts, ideas or images that he presents, thinking to a greater or lesser extent that they are dangerous and are going to come true. Therefore, these obsessive ideas make people seem to end up acting under a certain obsessive neurosis.

3. Rituals

With the rituals the person aims to reduce anxiety that produces the interpretations that you make about the intrusive thought. Rituals can be behavioral or cognitive.

  • The behavioral rituals They manifest themselves through absurd and repetitive behaviors (such as repeatedly washing your hands, checking if the door has been closed, etc.)
  • The cognitive rituals They are repetitive thoughts that are carried out by self-debating about some event or seeking constant verification from other people of something that is already known to be irrational.

In the short term, perform rituals reduces anxiety but in the long term they maintain the problem of this obsessive-compulsive disorder, since the interpretations are irrational and do not seek to solve a real problem.

Is a person with OCD dangerous?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Treatment

He treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder that has been shown to be most effective is the combination of pharmacotherapy (generally with SSRI-type antidepressants) and EPR or exposure therapy with response prevention, which we will focus on.

You may be interested:  Obsession with a Person: How to Stop Being Obsessed with Someone?

Exposure Therapy with Response Prevention (EPR)

Is he type of therapy which has proven effective in the majority of people who complete it, because OCD generally appears due to a cognitive alteration (catastrophic interpretation of thoughts). Its effects are maintained once the treatment has ended, unlike what happens with isolated pharmacological treatment.

The objective of this therapy is based not on eliminating the feared idea, since we cannot avoid having obsessive and intrusive thoughts, but in avoiding carrying out the compulsion that we do carry out voluntarily, thus interrupting the vicious cycle of obsession-compulsion that perpetuates the disorder, thanks to the use of psychological resources learned during treatment. It is essential that this intervention be carried out by a mental health professional.

How to overcome OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder?

OCD is a chronic and long-lasting condition that can worsen over time, therefore, it is vitally important to have a mental health professional to be able to deal with this. compulsive and obsessive disorder In addition to attending a specialist consultation, you can always keep the following in mind.

1. Reduce stress

One of the precursors of obsessions and compulsions is precisely excess stress. In these cases, when the person feels a lot of pressure due to stress, it can trigger ocd and its syndrome Therefore, a good way to deal with the unpleasant repetitive thoughts or neurotic behavior present in OCD is precisely by reducing the sources of stress. Try to maintain spaces in your week or routine that allow a break for your mind and body. In these cases, to deal with obsessiveness or this thought disorder we must sleep enough, eat well, exercise, as well as have a good diet.

2. Control anxiety

Saying it is easier than doing it. Dealing with anxiety involves a lot of progress in being able to face the strange obsessions or forbidden thoughts that go hand in hand with obsessive compulsive disorder. Thus, you must learn techniques to deal with the worry behind these unpleasant repetitive thoughts. In these cases, the key is to try to rationalize the negative thoughts and see the logic behind this type of obsessions and their compulsivity.

How to overcome OCD?

3. Practice relaxation techniques

Since stress and anxiety are the main triggers of obsessions and compulsions of the obsessive-compulsive personality, the key will be precisely to relax when the first signs of the OCD syndrome appear. Therefore, learning about deep breathing and starting to practice meditation can be a good way to control this thought disorder or OCD disease.

4. Move

Performing physical exercise is vitally important due to everything it implies for both our mental and physical health. In these cases, exercise allows us to relax both our body and our mind. In addition, there are several studies that have shown that physical exercise can reduce the frequency and intensity of OCD disorder symptoms

5. Practice mindfulness

Being able to be in the present without thinking about the past or the future is a challenge for many. In this way, to put an end to the neurotic behavior typical of obsessions and compulsions of OCD and its disorder It can be trying to be in the here and now. This is precisely what the practice of mindfulness consists of, a meditation that helps you feel how you are in these precise moments.

He obsessive compulsive disorder It is a disease that can be treated so that its effects do not intervene in the life of the person who suffers from it. The secret behind treating OCD is knowing how to control the thoughts behind this disease.