Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder of the brain and behavior. OCD causes severe anxiety in those affected. OCD involves both obsessions and compulsionsthat take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values.
Here is one way to think about what having OCD is like:
Imagine that your mind got stuck
on a certain thought or image...
Then this thought or image got replayed in your mind
over and over again
and no matter what you did
You dont want these thoughts.....it feels like and avalanche
With these thoughts come the intense feeling of anxiety!
Anxiety is your brain's warning system. When you feel anxious, it feels like you are in danger. Anxiety is an emotion that tells you to responf, react, protect yourself, DO SOMETHING!
On the one hand, you might recognize that the fear doesn’t make sense, doesn’t seem reasonable, yet it still feels very real, intense, and true…
Why would your brain lie?
Why would you have these feelings if they weren’t true? Feelings don’t lie… Do they?
Unfortunately, if you have OCD, they do lie. If you have OCD, the warning system in your brain is not working correctly. Your brain is telling you that you are in danger when you are not.
When scientists compare pictures of the brains of groups of people with OCD, they can see that some areas of the brain are different than the brains of people who don’t have OCD.
Those tortured with OCD are desperately trying to get away from paralyzing, unending anxiety…
Only trained therapists can diagnose OCD.
Therapists will look for three things:
The person has obsessions,
He or she does compulsive behaviors, and
The obsessions and compulsions take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values, such as working, going to school, or spending time with friends.
Thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again and feel out of the person's control.
The person does not want to have these ideas.
He or she finds them disturbing and unwanted, and usually know that they don't make sense.
They come with uncomfortable feelings, such as fear, disgust, doubt, or a feeling that things have to be done in a way that is "just right."
They take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values.
What Obsessions Are Not:
It is normal to have occasional thoughts about getting sick or about the safety of loved ones.
Repetitive behaviors or thoughts that a person engages in to neutralize, counteract, or make their obsessions go away.
People with OCD realize this is only a temporary solution, but without a better way to cope, they rely on the compulsion as a temporary escape.
Compulsions can also include avoiding situations that trigger obsessions.
Compulsions are time consuming and get in the way of important activities the person values.
What Compulsions Are Not:
Not all repetitive behaviors or "rituals" are compulsions. For example, bedtime routines, religious practices, and learning a new skill involve repeating an activity over and over again, but are a welcome part of daily life.
Behaviors depend on the context: Arranging and ordering DVDs for eight hours a day isn't a compulsion if the person works in a video store.
Common Obsessions in OCD
|Contamination||Unwanted Sexual Thoughts|
|Washing and Cleaning||Mental Compulsions|