Aneeza, a 35 year old women, obsessed with fear of contamination.
She developed her fear after her father’s death from pneumonia(which she related to germs). She seemed to be afraid of anything because germs could be anywhere.
I saw her in the garden, in evening where I go for walk. I noticed her cleaning the bench again and again, Sitting, getting up to clean, sitting again and It goes on… I saw her finishing her large bottle of water, by washing her hands every other minute. I noticed while eating her food from the tiffin she took more than an hour, like eating three bites at a time and eating each mouthful rrae rz 20 minutes.
I went to her, saying Hey, she was hesitant to coordinate with me, but I sat down with her, and started some routine gossips to make her comfortable with me, thats when I realized she is at severe state of OCD. When I felt she is getting comfortable with me, I asked her for her compulsive actions, which she then told me about her all OCD history.
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), is actually repetitive thoughts and urges, an irresistible need to engage in repetitive behaviors and mental acts. It’s a chronic disorder.
Just like you get obsessed to washing your hands over & over again, repeating the same word so many times, checking all locks again and again doubting you didn’t locked, or didnt locked properly, and it goes on…
But you cannot call It a disorder until your thoughts and actions are intrusive and chronic.
Let’s clear the concept of obsessions and compulsions, how they differ and connect at the same time.
Obsessions are repetitive, intrusive, uncontrollable thoughts, or urges, which causes you anxiety to perform certain actions.
Compulsions are excessive, repetitive behaviors, or mental acts, which you perform in response to your obsessions (uncontrollable intrusive thoughts).
Lets see the OCD cycle, how it works.
Obsessions the intrusive thoughts and urges, causes you anxiety to perform certain behaviors as compulsions which in turn gives you relief.
Yadesentience, subjective feeling of knowing “that is enough”, OCD patients suffer from deficit in yadesentience.
OCD makes a life miserable, a person spend all his time in his rituals. You are bound to your compelled actions, there is no free time left, you stay busy spending all your time with your obsessions and compulsions, like ALL YOUR TIME, as in case of Aneeza.
If your obsessions and compulsions are being so Intrusive, like you spend all of your day with your intrusive thoughts and compelled behaviors, so don’t just let it happen, It needs to be treated and we have the solution.
Yes, my purpose to write this blog is to make aware every person suffering from OCD (if its minor or severe) to opt psychological treatment “Exposure & Response Prevention(ERP)”, which you can perform at your home even, and I am here to guide you for this.
Exposure and Response Prevention(ERP), is a cognitive behavioral treatment. People with OCD hold almost magical belief that their compulsive behaviors will prevent awful things from happening. In ERP, you have to expose yourself to situations that elicit the compulsive acts and then refrain yourself from performing the compulsive rituals. For example, a person touches a dirty dish to elicit himself to perform the compulsive act to wash his hands due to germs on the dirty dish, but what he have to do is to control, stop himself from washing his hands due to touching dirty dish, this is what refraining is, to stop yourself from performing the elicit behavior.
This can help you in two ways.
1- Not performing the ritual exposes you to the full force of the anxiety provoked by the stimulus.
2- The exposure results in extinction of fear and anxiety that not performing a certain task will cause awful things to happen.
ERP is actually exposing yourself to the situation that causes you to perform compulsive behavior, but what you have to do is to NOT PERFORM THAT BEHAVIOR, to refrain yourself to perform that elicit behavior.
Typically EPR involves refraining from performing rituals upwards of 90 minutes, and doing it 15-20 times, within a 3-week period. You can try to refrain your self in you daily routine aswell as the specified duration mentioned.
Once you refrain yourself, you are to do wonders. Extinction of your fear that not performing the compulsions can cause bad things to happen, this extinction can help you to wonders. You will start to accept that you can atleast control for sometime with no damage.
And same was done with Aneeza, the case I described in the begining. I and Aneeza became good friends, and I implemented ERP to her, at first she refused to accept it, clients with OCD are fearful to stop themselves. It took days to convince her to atleast give It a try. I gave her proper sessions, she failed In the begining but with time she refrained her self as prescribed to her. She was able to refrain for a very little time In the begining but atleast she did. And with time, In every next session she was better refraining for more time than the previous time. We kept doing this for atleast 3-4 weeks, and these weeks made her a much better person. It made her to refrain herself in routine. ERP proved to be very effective on her, and made her a person who can control herself.
ERP can no doubt do wonders, so just try it, in your own company or under the supervision of your any family member. Give it a try, It can be very helpful to make yourself a better person.
Studies have shown that ERP is highly effective in reducing obsessions & compulsions. So atleast give It a try and see how it helps you.
#OCD #obsessions #compulsions #intrusivethoughts #compelledbehaviors