Managing OCD

OCD is characterised by persistent, unwanted, and intrusive thoughts and images. The thoughts are often inconsistent with the person’s value system and can cause extreme fear and anxiety. Individuals experiencing OCD may attempt to neutralise their obsessive thoughts using compulsive behaviours, which are often unrelated to the original thought. For example, the sufferer may undertake various rituals or compulsions to briefly, but never permanently, assuage these thoughts. While sufferers may realise the thoughts “aren’t real”, the obsessions and compulsions can become overwhelming and for some, take over their lives. OCD can have a negative impact on relationships, for example, causing significant discord with family members.

 

Symptoms of OCD

Each sufferer may experience different obsessions and compulsions however some common ones are:

Obsessions:

  • Obsessions about being clean and avoiding germs
  • Contamination fears
  • Intrusive thoughts about hurting someone else
  • Extreme health anxiety

Compulsions:

  • Excessive bathing or handwashing
  • Hoarding
  • Following an extreme and strict routine
  • Checking doors and light switches excessively
  • Using numerical rituals (e.g., counting in 3s or repeating patterns)

 

Counselling and Therapeutic Approach

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has proven to be a very effective method for treating OCD, particularly the exposure and response prevention component. Schema, dialectical, mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy, existential and emotion focussed therapies can also be helpful. At Eucalyptus psychology, your psychologist will help to find the best treatment and management plan for your particular needs.