What is OCD?
OCD is a symptom of an anxiety disorder, not a stand-alone condition as is commonly thought. Why? Because, OCD always exists in conjunction with anxiety disorder, the underlying cause of the obsessive thoughts and compulsions.
There are a number of variations of OCD, in which the sufferer experiences obsessive thoughts and compulsions at differing intensities.
Some OCD sufferers complain of disturbed thoughts of a violent or sexual nature, others describe having to perform rituals in order to contain their anxiety, to act on the thoughts they experience.
Anxiety disorders, by nature, cause fear. It is this fear which fuels the inappropriate thoughts and compulsions of OCD.
OCD is curable and the recovery period can be fast, if the sufferer follows a structured pattern of anxiety elimination.
Regardless of how your OCD manifests itself or how long you have suffered, your underlying anxiety is to blame.
If you experience aggressive, disturbing, sexual or inappropriate thoughts, do not worry. These are normal, but exaggerated, manifestations of your anxiety, nothing more!
What are the symptoms of OCD?
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) symptoms are wide ranging. the following list is not conclusive, but it indicates a pattern which most OCD sufferers follow.
- Invasive thoughts
- Aggressive thoughts
- Sexual thoughts
- Panic attacks
- Obsessive counting, sorting or mind games (word games in head etc.)
- Compulsions and rituals
- Thoughts about people you love
- Thoughts about knives, high places or windows (you’ll know what I mean)
- Inappropriate fear
- Having OCD doesn’t mean you are mentally ill, in fact, more than that, it means you are mentally able.
OCD is the reserve of the creative – those who have massive creative ability or potential, make up the largest proportion of OCD sufferers. Why? Because it takes a massive intellect to be able to ‘imagine’ these powerful scenarios.
OCD is a form of psychosomatic condition. This means that your OCD has developed as your conscious mind has taken control of your body, creating your obsessions and compulsions. This is all fuelled by your inappropriate anxiety level.
Many of our OCD clients explain thoughts they experience which are directed at people they love, even their close relatives and children. Sometimes these thoughts can be of a violent and/or sexual nature.
OCD thoughts are fuelled by extreme levels of anxiety. Anxiety, by nature, causes ‘fear’. Let me explain how this becomes these awful thoughts.
OCD – An Example
Your OCD and anxiety produce this thought pattern as you walk into the kitchen and see a knife on the table:
“I might pick up that knife and hurt myself, I might stab someone else and what if I kill them?”
This OCD thought pattern is often accompanied by quite vivid images in the mind. You may then immediately hide the knife, get someone else to remove it, or you may just run away.
Now let me explain how your OCD and anxiety creates this scenario.
- Your anxiety produces fear when you see the knife
- Your anxiety produces ‘catastrophic thought patterns’ (in other words, ‘what if’ thoughts. “what if I stabbed someone?” for example)
- Your subconscious then builds a ‘what if’ – a catastrophic scenario around that fear which can include vivid mental images.
- Your fear builds, but now, in addition, you feel like you are going crazy.
- From now on, knife means stabbing – that behaviour has been learned by your subconscious
Do you see how that OCD scenario can play out? It’s inappropriate, not based on truth and you would never do any of those things – and you know that.
Other sufferers may follow another OCD behavioural pattern. They might have to tidy constantly, turn lights on and off, avoid cracks in the pavement and other compulsions. These too are driven by OCD.
OCD sufferers fear the consequences of not carrying out their ritual – “What if I don’t switch this light on and off six times?” It’s the exact same OCD -driven catastrophic thinking.
All of these have their basis and root in anxiety disorder and cannot exist without anxiety.
What treatment is available for OCD?
Psychotherapy for OCD
OCD therapy can have limited success, but it is spasmodic.
Normally, OCD sufferers are treated with Cognitive Behavior Therapy in order to understand and eliminate their compulsions and obsessions.
Medication for OCD
Why would anyone think that treating OCD with medication could work? OCD is a behavioral condition; a habit, much like a thumb-sucking habit – you wouldn’t take medication for that would you?
Because OCD is behavioral and behavior is a ‘programmed’ habitual reaction, the only way a medication could be curative is if it ‘wiped out’ that behavior completely – no medication can do this without rendering you completely unconscious! It’s nonsense.
Anti-depressants and sedatives may well ‘sedate’ you, reducing your OCD symptoms, but it is only a short-term, non-permanent effect. When you remove the drug, the OCD and core anxiety will remain.