OCD is a type of anxiety disorder that affects more than 2% of adults in the United States, according to National Institute Mental Health, with symptoms typically appearing around age 19. People affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have certain thoughts or perform certain rituals or routines over and over. These frequent thoughts or actions are called obsessions, and can cause a person distress as they often get in the way of daily activities. The obsessions often end up controlling the person as they are uncontrollable in nature.
Those affected by OCD typically will exhibit the following:
- Repeated images or thoughts about various things; such as a fear of dirt, germs, acts of violence, conflicts with religious beliefs, being overly clean, or the thought of intruders causing harm to loved ones.
- Perform rituals and routines such as hand washing, locking doors, counting, or the repeating of steps over and over.
- Have an inability to control these undesired behaviors and thoughts.
- The frequent performing of certain routines or rituals offers a brief period of relief from the anxiety caused by the thoughts or images.
- At least one hour per day is spent on these thoughts or rituals, which causes distress and gets in the way of daily life activities.
Five Tips for Managing OCD
According to Health Central, a great first step in understanding how to overcome OCD symptoms is to understand that OCD is a type of anxiety disorder. The following tips will assist those affected by OCD in taking back control of their daily life activities.
1) Understand Your Anxiety – Think about the situations that cause anxiety and if they are realistic or not. Writing down these thoughts offers the opportunity to further explore them and note whether they are a realistic worry or not.
2) Challenge Your Interpretation – When thinking about fears, challenge them by asking yourself the following:
- Is the fear realistic?
- Am I confusing facts with thoughts?
- Are my thoughts accurate?
- What are the disadvantages of this way of thinking?
3) Accept – Accepting that OCD is interfering with your life is necessary to begin taking proactive steps to control anxiety.
4) Journal – Keep a journal and write down thoughts that are intrusive or unwanted while taking note of which compulsions or rituals you completed in an attempt to combat them.
5) Decrease or Delay Your Compulsive Behaviors – Give yourself permission to lock the door eight times instead of 10, decreasing the number of instances gradually until you find yourself only performing this routine one time. Lengthen the amount of time it takes to complete a ritual after a triggering event. For example, if an event occurs that would cause you to immediately wash your hands, delay washing them for one minute. Gradually increase this time to five minutes etc., until you feel comfortable with not performing the ritual at all.
Living with OCD symptoms can be very overwhelming and distressing to those affected. As with any type of anxiety disorder, treatment is available. Los Angeles OCD treatments can be found at several locations which provide safe, effective and cost-efficient services to those in need. If you are suffering with OCD it’s important to realize that you’re not alone and help is available. As mentioned earlier, understanding and accepting OCD are the first steps in overcoming the disorder.
Westside Neurotherapeutics offers Deep TMS treatments for OCD in Los Angeles. For more information, contact them by phone at 310.946.0008 or visit us at www.westsideneurotherapeutics.com.