Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder and one that should be taken seriously. This type of disorder typically builds up over a period of time and can be triggered by a traumatic life event or stressful experience.
For those of you who have never experienced OCD or may have never come across one who suffers from this disorder may be asking, “What exactly is OCD?”
This type of mental health disorder is composed of two parts, obsession and compulsion; although most who battle this disorder have both, it isn’t unlikely that one may only suffer from obsession or compulsion.
This disorder is brought forth by fear and causes much distress along the way. The obsession portion of OCD causes a person to obsess over repetitive thoughts, urges, or images. While the compulsive part of this disease forces the person to perform the thought, task, or urge they obsess over.
For example, a person whose wife passed away has developed OCD over the first two years after her death. In this specific case, it has caused the husband to tap the light switch four times before turning on any and every light in the house; this is performed every time a light needs to be turned on.
OCD is almost a ritual-like experience, and if the specific ritual is not performed, it often leaves the person in panic; but if the ritual is performed, anxiety and stress are often decreased.
With the man mentioned above, his fear is losing other family members, so he performs this “tapping” ritual to ensure that his other family members do not pass away.
Many who suffer from this disorder understand that their thoughts and habits do not make sense, but they cannot quit due to their worry when they do not perform the ritual.
Surprisingly, OCD is far more common than you may think. It affects people of all ages, including men, women, the elderly, teenagers, and adolescents, and the average age of a person diagnosed is only 19 years old.
“Obsessive compulsive disorder was once considered a rare condition, but is now viewed as not only one of the more prevalent psychiatric disorders, but also one of the most disabling medical disorders. Previously, obsessive compulsive neurosis was described in terms of unconscious conflict. Today, it is regarded as a neuropsychiatric disorder mediated by specific neuronal circuitry and closely related to neurological conditions such as Tourette’s syndrome and Sydenham’s chorea.”
With millions of people experiencing OCD across the nation, it’s important to know the signs and learn about treatments to be prepared should this be a disorder you or a loved one experiences now or in the future.
In 2021, there are still lots of studies that need to be performed as doctors do not precisely know how OCD is brought forth within the space of the brain, but what we do know is that OCD can be heightened in stressful situations or difficult periods of life.
Below are some symptoms to keep in mind that may align with OCD:
- Worrying about yourself or loved ones getting hurt or dying
- Consistent awareness of blinking, breathing, or any other body sensations
- A nagging thought that a partner is unfaithful, without reason
- Performing tasks in a specific order or number every time
- Finding yourself counting things, unnecessarily
- Having a fear of touching doorknobs, public toilets, or shaking hands
If you or someone you know experiences any of the symptoms listed above, do not worry; there are numerous tools and tactics that you may utilize to manage the OCD.
We understand OCD can be debilitating, and we want you to know that you’re not limited to professional help, as they’re also many other forms of tools and resources you can use to manage OCD on your own.
Here are some ways you can treat OCD, both medically and holistically:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (psychotherapy)
- Mindful meditation (headspace app)
- Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- Deep breathing
“A helpful way to treat OCD is to realize what your triggers are. Although OCD can be a constant flow of obsessive thoughts throughout the entire day, you likely do have some triggers, whether you realize it or not. When you start to understand triggers that cause your compulsions, it can help to manage symptoms. You can learn to prepare yourself for the trigger of an OCD compulsion and prepare yourself to go against what your brain is telling you.”
At First Responder Wellness, we provide guidance to those ready to take the path to recovery and wellbeing. We offer various programs within a community of others who know what it is like to be on the front lines. For more information on how we can help, call (888) 743-0490.