Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is generally a root cause of some chemical imbalances happening in the brain. These chemicals are the neurotransmitters that are messengers the body cannot function without.
OCD is a type of neurological disorder that may occur due to factors such as impaired brain function or brain abnormalities, ongoing stress, anxiety disorder, genetics, and environment. Spanning a lifetime, OCD is a chronic disorder, and its symptoms might keep disappearing and reappearing intermittently.
People with OCD are subject to uncontrollable compulsions, which are caused because of persistent intrusive obsessions. Chemical imbalances happening in the brain get them absorbed in obsessions and compulsions. The obsessions can be recurrent thoughts, images, or impulses that make them do something repeatedly and get them stuck in a repetitive pattern.
These obsessions and behaviors interfere with their day-to-day activities and work-related tasks. They may fail to concentrate on the task at hand and are driven by their obsessive thoughts to give in to compulsions and rituals.
What does OCD look like?
A person may develop OCD during their childhood, and it may become visible during their teen or early adult years. The kind of obsessions one experiences may keep changing throughout one’s lifetime. The symptoms may get worse sometimes, which can be a result of factors such as stress, environment, and anxiety.
OCD traps a person in the cycle of events, which involves obsessions and compulsions corresponding to them. For example, a person may get the thoughts of getting an infection by shaking their hands with someone. They may become obsessed with the thought that they will become sick due to this, which is why they may avoid shaking hands.
However, being in a social setting, they just cannot simply avoid handshakes, which causes them great anxiety and fear. The compulsion to this is, they may wash their hands several times to convince their mind that they are free of infectious germs. They may repeat the compulsions until their anxiety goes away.
The cycle begins with a thought or some obsession in the mind. If the person does not take some action to overcome their obsessions, they experience extreme anxiety. To relieve this anxiety, they are forced to do compulsive behaviors, which provides them temporary relief from anxiety. This period of temporary relief remains until the obsessions occur again. It goes on and on and on, until the point of exhaustion.
Ways to treat OCD
OCD cannot be cured, as it is a lifelong problem that comes and goes and sometimes becomes worse. But the good news is, it can be managed very well with the help of treatments. Treatments involve talk therapy sessions combined with medications.
The therapist will prescribe some antidepressant medications that will support the treatment. There are some medications that have got approval from the FDA, which makes them safe for use. The therapists will help you identify the true reason for your obsessions, which will allow you to handle the triggers effectively.
In addition to the psychotherapy treatment, one must also make efforts to alleviate their OCD symptoms, which will make their life much easier.
Some ways to achieve that are given as follows:
Stress is common. But those who have OCD experience it intensely. It might even worsen the symptoms of OCD. Coping with it involves engaging your mind in some activities that make you happy and forget about all the worries. It can be anything, reading a good book, taking some classes, learning something new, music, and so on and so forth.
Embrace the “it is what it is attitude”
You have OCD, and you cannot reverse it. All you can do is change things that are in your control. Self-acceptance involves knowing that you are different from the rest and focusing on self-improvement.
Avoid obsessing over validation
Self-reassurance can be a dangerous thing. It can add to your stress, damage your self-image, and give rise to esteem issues. To achieve that, one must stop overthinking.
Do not resist the thoughts
Resisting them will make them even stronger. This will increase the anxiety until compulsion is initiated.
Get in touch
Connecting with people who are having the same problem as you will encourage you to adopt ways of self-improvement. Being in a community of people who are going through the same difficulties will create a sense of belonging. Seeking help and helping others will make you feel good about yourself.
People with OCD experience guilt and shame for being different from others. They may constantly seek reassurance to make sure that they are troubling anybody because of their behavior. Experiencing shame is quite obvious among such people. It is important for them to separate themselves from their intrusive thoughts and align with their identity.
Seeking professional aid
It is necessary to seek professional help, which involves therapy sessions and medications. Therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions are highly structured and goal-oriented, which are designed to get to the root cause and manage the obsessions with the help of logical viewpoints. If the condition is left untreated, the symptoms will become worse and completely drain the physical as well as mental energy through exhaustion.