Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is considered an anxiety disorder, whereby the person experiences severe anxiety; has unpleasant obsessive thoughts, images, urges or doubts that continually repeat in the mind which compels (compulsion) the person to carry out repetitive behaviours (rituals) to reduce the anxiety.
We can all experience intrusive, random thoughts and most of us can dismiss them from our consciousness and get on with our day. People with OCD have difficulty “turning off” or ignoring their thoughts and the thoughts get stuck in a loop and repeat themselves over and over again.
OCD can affect men, women and children. OCD does have a neurobiological basis although research is still not clear on what causes OCD. There are a number of factors which may play a part including:
- Family history
- Differences in the brain
- Life events
People who have OCD experience different symptoms. Here are the 4 main categories:
- Contamination & Washing
- Doubt about accidental harm to themselves or another and Checking
- Arranging and Counting things to make sure things are “just right”
- Unacceptable Intrusive thoughts, images and Impulses
Examples of obsessive Compulsions:
- Washing your hands or body a lot
- Touching things in a particular order
- Arranging things in a particular way
- Checking doors and windows are locked
- Checking your body or clothes for contamination
- Correcting thoughts: repeating a word or phrase in your head or out loud
- Seeking reassurance constantly that everything is ok
If you experience OCD, it is likely that your obsessions and compulsions have a big impact on your life and how you live it. OCD can take up a lot of time and disrupt your daily life and the life of your family members and friends. A person with OCD usually avoids things that will trigger their OCD making it hard to go to work; see family and friends and go out socially.
Obsessive thinking is exhausting and continually carrying out the compulsive behaviours to reduce anxiety can be relentless. It can be very lonely and often people with OCD try to hide away from life for fear of being judged or to be made fun of.
Other related habitual patterns of behaviour which are similar to OCD are: Perinatal OCD where you experience OCD during pregnancy or after birth; BDD (Body dysmorphic disorder) involving obsessive worrying over your physical appearance; Compulsive skin picking (CSP) repetitive picking at your own skin to relieve anxiety or urges; Trichotillomania- the compulsive urge to pull out your hair; Hoarding- when a person collects things and finds it hard to get rid of things.
Hypnotherapy and NLP can help with OCD by working with the Unconscious mind to reprogram the neural pathways, reduce the anxiety and relieve the symptomatic behaviours associated with it.