Obsessive, Compulsive Disorder

If you are not obsessive-compulsive you no doubt find the behavior of one who is odd at best. It also wears you out just to watch them. A person with this disorder (OCD) fixates on things that most of us just ignore. Some examples are: canned goods must be alphabetized and the front of the can facing you, a small stain on a dress (even if it is so old it should be on its way to Goodwill Industries) sends a person with OCD into a tailspin of ways to get it off, are fanatical about cleanliness and order in general, have persistent, disturbing preoccupations, are opinionated, judgmental, and the thought of change terrifies them; any variation from their routine sends them into nail-biting frenzies. These are just a few of the behavior patterns of one who has OCD.

The Mayo Clinic says:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). It’s also possible to have only obsessions or only compulsions and still have OCD.

With OCD, you may or may not realize that your obsessions aren’t reasonable, and you may try to ignore them or stop them. But that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease your stressful feelings.

OCD often centers around themes, such as a fear of getting contaminated by germs. To ease your contamination fears, you may compulsively wash your hands until they’re sore and chapped. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts, the thoughts or urges keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behavior — and a vicious cycle that’s characteristic of OCD.

While the cause of OCD is unknown, both environmental and genetic factors play a role. Risk factors include a history of child abuse or other stress inducing events. Treating the underlying problem can help to reduce or eradicate OCD. Going through a program of recovery that includes a Twelve Step group, specific programs such as REPAIR and finding a therapist that has a background in treating child abuse, especially child sexual abuse (since a large percentage develop obsessive-compulsive disorders) is a major step in changing a sometimes almost lethal behavior pattern to a healthy behavior pattern.   OCD is driven by anxiety, and the OCD symptoms help the anxious person to manage his anxiety.

On a slightly-off-the-subject note, in researching this article on Google a strange thing happened to me. As I went deeper and deeper into the world of OCD and its possible causes I found myself heading into You Tube videos about child sexual abuse. The more graphic they became the more disturbed I was until I finally backed out of all of them. I realized for the first time since I began recovery that for a few moments I looked at child sexual abuse through the eyes of those who find my work disgusting. I had a granddaughter who treated me like I was invisible for many years. Another granddaughter referred to my work as that yucky sex stuff.  Now I understand why it is such a difficult subject for people. They don’t really understand that in the world of child sexual abuse developing obsessive-compulsive disorders is one of the least things that can happen to you. Suicide, addiction to food, sex, alcohol, relationships, drugs and worse, cutting, severe depression, eating disorders and chronic illness show an even darker side to the effects of child sexual abuse. If those of us who are fighting on the front lines decided that the entire subject matter was so disgusting that we no longer wanted anything to do with it then the number of people who are sexually abused would rise even more. Since it is a multi-generational problem we would be literally condemning our children to being sexually abused as well. Do we want out children to suffer? Our goal is to eradicate child sexual abuse or at the very least to reduce it to manageable numbers.

According to Mark Goulston, MD, F.A.P.A published in Psychology Today,

In working with some and knowing an even wider number of people with OCD or at least strong features of it, I have observed a number of things that I hope you will find as helpful as some of these people have.  The more these people feel “not in control” in major areas of their life including their job, school, love, friend and family relationships and their future the more intense their OCD symptoms.  It’s as if they feel that focusing on something finite and small will magically translate into feeling in control everywhere.  Unfortunately the opposite happens.  The more they focus on their OCD to the exclusion of the other areas of their life, the more they go from not in control in those areas to being even less in control.  And then the more that happens, the more their OCD intensifies.

We all want to feel the calm in the center of the storm that often rages around us. Doing nothing is not an option, not if you want to lead a happy, productive life. Once upon a time I suffered from many of those most severe behavior patterns. As a survivor of multiple suicide attempts I look back on my life and think, If I had known life was going to turn out this good I would have started it sooner. Obsessive-Compulsive disorders can be managed and in many cases uprooted completely.  There is no reason why not to start yours sooner.

For those seeking healthy love I recommend checking out the website called Babble-Out at http://www.thebabbleout.com/relationship/what-is-love-and-how-does-it-work/.


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