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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is when someone has repetitive, obsessive thoughts, actions and behaviours. They focus on something very particular and keep going back to that that experience again and again.
For instance, take closing a door. For a person with OCD this may mean closing and reclosing the door 10, 20, 30 times. It is closed and they happy it is closed, but they may still have to close it again and again, just to make sure it is closed.
They are unable to accept the final evidence that it is closed so they keep closing the door to reassure themselves it is closed or it will really be closed ‘this time’.
People with OCD experience an inability to move on from events, situations and traumas. They are unable to experience satisfaction in the present time and are always living in an unsure future or reverting to thoughts of past disasters.
Many of the thoughts, memories and further fears are negative and at some stage of their life they may have encountered a very traumatic experience.
This leads to a deep and persistent feeling of being unsafe in their environment, and the world at large. They are often deeply suspicious of people, new circumstances and places.
They may also be obsessed with other people, their behaviours and disbelieve that other people are competent.
Often people with OCD can have cleaning obsessions as well. They may clean something several times and keep checking and checking again and checking again to make sure there is no remaining dirt.
They are very small chunk people and may spend hours on simply re-cleaning the same spoon for hours.
But OCD isn’t all bad because many successful people are obsessive compulsive. They have learned to do something really exquisitely and they do it repeatedly and that makes them successful.
Most highly successful business people have obsessive compulsive behaviours. They apply themselves repeatedly in a way that the ordinary person cannot be bothered to or cannot manage. Show me a multi-millionaire and I will show you someone with OCD.
So when Obsessive Compulsive Disorder makes it so you can’t function in ordinary everyday life – then you need some help.
You can be helped through cognitive behaviour therapy and behaviour training and hypnosis.
It is important that if you are suffering from OCD that you seek a helpful psychological and psychotherapeutic therapist and not just take drugs.
When people only take drugs for OCD, those drugs seem to be less effective as time goes on and the person can be back to where they were.
So you can get help. Here’s a tip: you need to be obsessive about getting help – as obsessive about getting help as you are about having your OCD.
That’s a really good tip because when I have seen people do that, they’ve done very well in therapy. They have turned up to therapy and done the work the therapist has asked them to do and together, positive results have been achieved.
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist. Counsellor, PACFA registered Mental Health Professional and Naturopath In Sydney. You can get help by booking an appointment with her at Australian Health & Education Centre.