Obsessive Compulsive Disorder includes both the Obsessive component and the Compulsive aspect. The Obsessions are involuntary negative thoughts, images or impulses, occurring over and over in the mind. Compulsions are the behaviours, often accompanied by the obsessive thoughts, which the person feels compelled to act out. Compulsions are often acted out in order to make the obsessive thoughts go away.
Many of us can relate to having the odd obsessive thoughts, or ritualistic behaviours that we feel compelled to act out. For example do you deliberately walk around a ladder instead of under it, or do you find yourself checking the gas, doors, windows more than once. Having these thoughts or behaviours does not mean that you have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
With the OCD sufferer, these involuntary thoughts and ritualistic behaviours cause tremendous stress and take up a lot of the person’s time and energy. The obsessions occur over and over again, and can be disturbing and distracting. The Obsessive component of the problem the person becomes plagued by persistent worrying that is completely outside of his/her control.
The Compulsive aspect of the condition is the unrelenting drive to act out the ritualistic behaviour. Whilst many of us can identify with ritualistic and superstitious behaviour, for the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder sufferer, these compulsions are time-consuming, causing a lot of distress and interfere with everyday living. The level of anxiety increases when the sufferer attempts to desist in the ritualistic behaviour. This anxiety continues until they give in to the thoughts or behaviours and thereby bringing about an easing of the tensions.
Some of the common types of compulsive behaviours include hoarding, cleaning and hand washing, counting, ordering and arranging, asking for reassurance, extensively overthinking to ensure
the feared consequence does not happen.
Treatment involves a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy and hypo-psychotherapy which has been found to bring about relief for those suffering with this condition.