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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder OCD By: Dr. Ayushi Shrivastava

Are obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors interfering with your daily life..? Explore the symptoms, treatment, and self-help for OCD

What is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? OCD is characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and ritualized, repetitive behaviors you feel compelled to perform. If you have OCD, you probably recognize that your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational—but even so, you feel unable to resist them and break free. OCD is an obsessions and compulsion of repetitive and persistent thoughts, images, impulses or urges that are intrusive and unwanted, and are commonly associated with anxiety. It’s normal, on occasion, to go back and double-check that the iron is unplugged or worry that you might be contaminated by germs, or even have an occasional unpleasant, violent thought. But if you suffer from obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD), obsessive thoughts and

compulsive behaviors become so consuming they interfere with your daily life.

• Like a needle getting stuck on an old record, OCD causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. • For example, you may check the stove 20 times to make sure it’s really turned off because you’re terrified of burning down your house, or wash your hands until they’re scrubbed raw for fear of germs.

• While you don’t derive any sense of pleasure from performing these repetitive behaviors, they may offer some passing relief for the anxiety generated by the obsessive thoughts. • Most people with OCD fall into one of the following categories:Washers are afraid of contamination. • They usually have cleaning or hand-washing compulsions.

Common obsessive thoughts in OCD include: Checkers repeatedly check things (oven turned off, door locked, etc.) that they associate with harm or danger. Doubters and sinners are afraid that if everything isn't perfect or done just right something terrible will happen, or they will be punished. Counters and arrangers are obsessed with order and symmetry. They may have superstitions about certain numbers, colors, or arrangements.

Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others. Fear of losing control and harming yourself or others. Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images. Excessive focus on religious or moral ideas. Fear of losing or not having things you might need.

OCD self-help tip

? Identify your trigger:-The first step to managing your OCD symptoms is to recognize the triggers the thoughts or situations that bring on your obsessions and compulsions. Record a list of the triggers you experience each day and the obsessions they provoke.

? Learn to resist OCD compulsions:-It might seem smart to avoid the situations that trigger your obsessive thoughts, but the more you avoid them, the scarier they feel. Conversely, by repeatedly exposing yourself to your OCD triggers, you can learn to resist the urge to complete your compulsive rituals. This is known as exposure and response prevention (ERP) and is a main stay of professional therapy for OCD.

? Stay connected to family and friends:-social isolation will aggravate your OCD symptoms. It’s important to invest in relating to family and friends. Talking face-to- face about your worries and urges can make them feel less real and less threatening.

? Reach out for support:-OCD can get worse when you feel powerless and alone, so it’s important to build a strong support system. The more connected you are to other people, the less vulnerable you’ll feel. And just talking to an understanding person about your worries and urges can make them seem less threatening. ? Manage stress:-While stress doesn’t cause OCD, it can trigger symptoms or make them worse. Physical exercise and connecting with another person face-to- face are two very effective ways to calm your nervous system. ? Make lifestyle changes to ease OCD:-

? Excercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment can follow regularly.

? Get enough sleep. lack of sleep can exacerbate anxious thoughts and feelings.

? Smoking leads to higher, not lower, levels of anxiety and OCD symptoms.

How to help someone with OCD:- ? The way you react to your loved one's OCD symptoms can have a big impact on their outlook and recovery. Negative comments or criticism can make OCD worse, while a calm, supportive environment can help improve the outcome of treatment. ? Avoid making personal criticisms:- Remember, your loved one's OCD behaviors are symptoms, not character flaws. ? Don't scold someone with OCD or tell them to stop performing rituals They can't comply, and the pressure to stop will only make the behaviors worse. ? Be as kind and patient as possible:- Each sufferer needs to overcome problems at their own pace. Praise any successful attempt to resist OCD, and focus attention on positive elements in the person's life.

• Do not play along with your loved one’s rituals:- Support the person, not their compulsions.

• Keep communication positive and clear:- Communication is important so you can find a balance between supporting your loved one and standing up to the OCD symptoms and not further distressing your loved one.

• Find the humor:- Laughing together over the funny side and absurdity of some OCD symptoms can help your loved one become more detached from the disorder. Just make sure your loved one feels respected and in on the joke.

• Don't let OCD take over family life:- Sit down as a family and decide how you will work together to tackle your loved one's symptoms. Try to keep family life as normal as possible and the home a low-stress environment.

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