Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterised by the presence of obsessions and / or compulsions:
Obsessions are defined by:
Compulsions are defined by:
Treatment of OCD
The following steps are usually taken when dealing with someone OCD:
Psycho-education about OCD. The more you understand about your mind and body's natural response to fear, the more you are able to control your thoughts, feeling and actions.
Next is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to analyse your thoughts around your obsession and the resulting behaviour (compulsion). Identifying and challenging these unhelpful thoughts and using evidence and probability to adopt more realistic thoughts, while moderating behaviour.
Now we are ready to develop coping skills to encouraging an attitude of "facing your fear". We know we are responding to our psychological and physiological urge to keep repeating the behaviour so now we need to develop coping strategies to resist the urge and managing the distress this may cause.
Finally, exposure. Arranging your obsessions and compulsions in a list, ordering them from things that don’t bother you much to things that bother you the most Next, you will be asked to face your fear one at a time, from easiest to hardest. Slowly you learn that nothing bad will happen when exposing yourself things that worry you and you become more and more able to free yourself of your obsessions and compulsions.
How much is too much?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the ongoing worldwide outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a pandemic.
In response, public health experts around the world have asked individuals and organizations to take action to prevent and limit the transmission of this disease in their communities. This may create unique challenges for people in the OCD and related disorders community as we work to balance what’s best for population health and what’s best for our individual mental health.
(Source: The International OCD Foundation)
Obviously during a pandemic no-one is recommending that you stop washing your hands, sanitizing or following guidelines about good hygiene when out and about. But there is a time when you might be going overboard. Consider for example that you are at home, you've washed your hands already and have had no exposure to anything unsanitary. Do you feel the urge to wash your hands again? Or perhaps washing them for longer than the 20 second requirement? Perhaps you feel you should scrub your hands until they are raw or bleeding?
If you are struggling to find the line between good Covid-19 cleaning guidelines and your own obsessive sanitisation rituals, or your urge to constantly check the news to see how the pandemic is developing, it's time to talk.