Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder that causes people to have unwanted recurring thoughts, sensations or ideas driving them to do something repetitively – known as compulsions. These behaviours can include continually checking things, cleaning or hand washing. They can impact a person’s day-to-day life significantly, affecting their activities and social interactions.
A compulsive behaviour is carried out on impulse, usually with little thought. The person feels they have been “driven to it” and can’t stop themselves from doing it.
OCD compels people to do repetitive tasks such as being excessively tidy, placing all the food tins in the cupboards with the labels facing the same way or making sure the cutlery is all lying the same way in the drawer. They may continually count in their head, so they can’t think of anything else.
People with OCD constantly carry out unwanted routines. Their behaviour follows a rigid pattern and if they don’t complete the tasks, they experience great distress. They can find it impossible to steer their focus away from their compulsive actions.
The degree to which this behaviour preoccupies them and limits their life is the important factor. Any compulsions that take more than one hour a day, impair work, cause major distress and impact on people’s social life may be diagnosed as OCD.
Examples of compulsions can include:
▪ Cleaning and washing themselves to reduce a fear that dirt, germs or chemicals may “contaminate” them. Some people spend so many hours cleaning and bathing that it stops them going out.
▪ Repeating a name or phrase several times to reduce anxiety: although the repetitions won’t guard against injury, they are afraid they will suffer harm if they don’t say them.
▪ Continually checking things such as whether the door is locked or the cooker is turned off, for fear of harm. A person may go back into the same room multiple times to check the same thing, even though they know they have just checked it.
▪ Putting household objects in a certain symmetric, uniform fashion, such as arranging cereal boxes in order of size or storing books in a certain order. Everything must be “just so”.
Please don’t be deterred if we haven’t identified your particular issue, as OCD behaviours are extremely varied and it is impossible to list all of them. The underlying cause of the behaviour is treated with hypnotherapy, rather than the precise behaviour.
Please contact us at our practice to find out more.
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