Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD
Some of the most challenging cases that I work with are cases with people have severe OCD. It really has just taken over their life. Their symptoms include the obsessive thoughts, urges or images that just consume them. And they develop compulsions and use avoidance behaviors to get rid of or reduce the anxiety that are triggered by the obsessive thoughts. OCD often has a genetic base to it. In fact, most clients, when they look back in their family history, they notice different family members, maybe grandma or grandpa that that had excessive hand washing or some kind of OCD, but perhaps it wasn't identified in those days.
OCD can be exacerbated by stress in someone's life. It can wax and wane as they go through their life. Stressors and major changes in their life, even if they're good changes, can exacerbate the symptoms. It seems almost like OCD is trying to protect the person from dealing with what they should be dealing with in their life. And instead, a symptom flares up. And it says, just think about this over here. Just worry about this. And don't worry about that thing over there that you really should be worrying about. Some common obsessions include contamination issues like a fear of losing control, harming yourself or others, stealing, blurting things out, unwanted sexual thoughts, religious obsessions, fear of illness, superstitious ideas, perhaps certain things are lucky or unlucky, superstitious feelings about numbers, obsessions relating to performance or perfectionism, evenness, exactness in ordering, fear of losing things, forgetting things and disregarding things. And some of the common compulsions include washing and cleaning, checking different things, and mental compulsions like praying, counting, or repeating certain phrases, different repeating behaviors, ordering, asking for reassurance, and avoiding situations can also be a compulsion. One thing I also notice in my OCD clients are instances of secondary gain. Secondary gain is having some beliefs and circumstances that reinforce the OCD symptom. Perhaps a belief that I can't work if I have OCD or I that I cannot be left alone. If my OCD is this severe people need to take care of me. There are also family accommodations that people make that reinforces a loved one’s OCD.
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