What exactly is OCD? For a long time the term OCD was thrown about when people wanted to describe an activity they or someone was fanatical about – ‘she’s got an OCD about cleaning’ etc. With a greater understanding of mental health, the general population are less inclined to use such diagnosis in a flippant manner. Personal events and those that we are currently facing can take their toll on our mental wellness. This can be manifested as OCD particularly around cleanliness but what is OCD? It stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and usually triggered when a person has faced traumatic event (such as a pandemic or serious illness).
OCD is an inappropriate coping strategy which becomes the response to future triggers to perceived negative stimuli. The person can experience intense and insistent thoughts which can have a significant impact on their life. The obsessive thoughts are followed by repetitive compulsions or urges. These thoughts cause the person a great deal of distress because if they fail to act on these thoughts, they, or those nearest to them are at risk.
People with OCD are aware that their thoughts are irrational. However, they are driven to carry out compulsive behaviours and rituals believing this will relieve them of the anxiety causing unwanted thoughts. Which it does temporarily until they face another stimuli which leads to the obsessive thoughts followed by the compulsion to act.
We are currently facing an unprecedent amount of change. Since the beginning of 2020, clients with cleanliness OCD have felt at ease because it has felt somewhat reassuring as others are having similar thoughts. Their compulsion has felt justified and therefore helped to ease the mental discomfort. As we begin to venture back into an adapted world, anxiety clients (OCD falls under anxiety) are reporting heightened symptoms. Furthermore, The Health Foundation has reported nearly half of the population will be affected by anxiety, this is likely to include cleanliness/hygiene as a factor. For some, this may remain as a series of negative thoughts which can be alleviated by handwashing or anti-bacterial gel. Allowing you to relax and focus on the activity or task. However, if you are noticing an increase in frequency of negative thoughts which permeates actions, this could be the right time to seek help before the strategies become embedded and problematic.
At mindAbility, collaboration is essential to developing strategies to manage negative thoughts leading to greater emotional control. The focus is not to understand why the problematic strategies exist but rather creating tools to minimise negative thoughts and reduce the compulsions. Enabling you to focus your energy on enjoyable activities.
The amount of sessions varies depending on clients’ needs and if you feel you would benefit from some advice and discuss OCD treatments you can take then contact us or call me directly on 07902 580 703