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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Over 2% of the population will suffer from OCD at some time in their life with the onset usually occuring in the mid-twenties. OCD invoves the constant performing of rituals – compulsions such as hand washing, ordering or reciting, to relieve anxiety caused by difficult and recurring thoughts e.g. fear of being contaminated or contaminating and/or harming others.

The sufferer is usually aware of their inappropriate thoughts, feelings and behaviours, yet they feel powerless over them. The good news is being aware of these unhelpful thought patterns also facilitates recovery. This awareness is at the heart of the 85% ‘greatly improved’ rating attributed to clients who accept and comply with the suggested ‘exposure and responsive’ approach to CBT treatment for OCD.

OCD SYMPTOMS

Common Obsessions include:

  • Feeling things may be dirty or contaminated with germs
  • Requiring excessive order in the environment – this may be accompanied with the need for things to be symmetrical
  • Fear of looking ‘stupid’ to others
  • Fear of harming others
  • Intrustive negative throughts usually concerning sex, religion, violence and/or aggression
  • Worry over electrical appliances e.g. checking they are switched off and all doors are locked

Common Compulsions include:

  • Washing to avoid ‘perceived’ contamination
  • Avoiding coming in contact with or touching ‘contaminated’ people
  • Counting or reciting for reassurance
  • Repeated requests for reassurance from others & engaging others in checking
  • May include lying to others about extent of compulsion
  • Arranging things excessively
  • Compiling ‘order’ lists
  • Rituals and checking
  • Hoarding

Psychological support in CBT aims to facilitate the change of negative automatic thoughts (NATs) for more helpful alternative thoughts. This, combined with ‘exposure and prevention’ strategies help to change the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour associated with OCD. Where OCD is severe, treatment may include anti-depressant medication such as SRI’s (Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Where depression is present, symptoms of OCD are usually heightened during the onset of a depressive episode.

Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy & Mindfulness supports the individual to:

  • Learning about the symptoms and how to manage them. Identifying your own OCD symptoms
  • Developing a therapeutic plan – includes ‘reasonable’ rather than obsessive checking goals
  • Using OCD thought records to change faulty thinking about events and the responsive behaviours. The aim of such change is to alleviate the emotional difficulties associated with continuation of such ‘negative automatic thoughts’
  • Overcoming avoidance behaviour
  • Managing compulsive urges with Mindfulness Stress Reduction
  • Supporting the individual to improve self-esteem, become less fearful and grow in confidence. It is a goal-orientated, problem-solving and structured therapeutic approach

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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that looks at:

  • The way you think about yourself/others
  • What you think about the situation or problem you are experiencing and
  • How what you do and feel is influenced by what you think and believe. It includes a solution-focused approach to problems and supports positive change with CBT worksheets

Mindfulness Therapy is beneficial because Mindfulness supports the body and the mind.

  • Integrating Mindfulness improves mental and physical health
  • It helps to relieve stress and improves clarity of mind
  • Mindfulness is supportive in the treatment of depression, low mood, anxiety, couples conflict and stress reduction
  • Mindfulness also helps people to manage painful emotions
(Harvard Medical School)