What Causes OCD to Get Worse

Understanding OCD And Its Cause

Have you ever known anyone who keeps washing their hands, or avoids public washrooms, or insists on order and symmetry and gets agitated if he/she finds something out of place? I am sure you have definitely come across such people. And all of us have these kinds of thoughts sometime or the other in life. However, when such thoughts take over our life it becomes a disorder. To get clarity on this rising mental health issue a case study is shared here.

Raj (name changed) 40 year old corporate employee with 12 years of experience in the IT industry was referred for consultation by his physician as he had vague complaints of palpitations, excessive sweating and dizziness. The physician found no clinical reasons for his ailment. Raj found a lot of relief ¡n talking to a professional who didn’t ridicule him, accepted his feelings and fears.

For a 40 year old from the corporate world to say, ‘I am afraid of my thoughts, afraid to sit on a flight, afraid to go to work as maybe someone might speak harshly or ask me to go on site.’ Isn’t ¡t a ridiculous thought? 01 course it isn’t. His wife revealed more issues like taking a long time for bathing, being picky about colours of clothes to wear, having a repetitive schedule of drying self with four towels to ensure safety of family, washing hands four times, typing a mail tour times, etc.

The explanation for Raj’s thoughts is that these kind of feelings and thoughts usually start from childhood due to overpowering, strict and overprotective parenting. In some cases, it was also found that anxiety is inherited or learned from parental anxiety.

Obsessive thoughts create discomfort and restlessness leading to tension which can be eased by compulsive behaviours. For example, if you shake hands with someone at work who has a cut on his thumb, a thought may come to mind that what if he has some disease that is transmitted to you when you shook hands with him.

This thought will give you a lot of tension and will only ease when you wash your hands thoroughly. So you wash it and feel that you need to wash it again. But while washing your hands again, you feel that some of that water splashed on your arms so you scrub from the tips of your finger till your upper arms. Then, you wonder how to turn off the tap so you use a tissue to turn it off.

If you don’t give in to the washing compulsion, you may feel uneasiness, tension, palpitations, sweating etc. leading to poor concentration, incomplete work, frequent reprimands and reminders. So, you’d rather not go to work and call in sick.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is treatable medically. However, an additional cognitive behaviour therapy equips the person to deal with and overcome OCD effectively. Cognitive behaviour therapy is a time tested evidence based psychotherapy which can be structured in a personalized manner to equip the client.

Cognitive behaviour therapy trains the client to relax and approach the feared situation or thought in a relaxed manner.

Tips On How To Learn To Relax

  • Abdominal Breathing
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Mindfulness
  • Neutralizing negative thoughts reduces anxiety oy telling oneself that you are only anticipating something might go wrong, however, nothing has happened so far.
  • Hear positive affirmations for enhance ability to cope with anxiety.

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