How To Overcome Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Can anyone overcome their obsessive-compulsive disorder without medicine? I have obsessive compulsive disorder and find it impossible to disobey my rituals of checking the doors many times to see if it locked or not. Anyone here can actually disobey their rituals and choose not to do it without any medication? I also check the sink hose many times to see if it actually closed or not. Sarah, do I need to take medicine? I don’t want to take the medicine because it not effective. Can I just do the cognitive Cognitive behavioral therapy and don’t take the medicine. Is it ok?
Keep taking your medicine if thats what the doctor said.
From what I have read OCD is linked to perfectionism. Have a read of the wiipedia article on it (see link). Also search for as many other articles on perfectionism as you can find and read those too. Spend a little cash on a book or two about perfectionism. There are some good ones on www.amazon.com such as
When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism by Martin M. Antony and Richard P. Swinson (Paperback – Dec 1998)
Perfectionism: What’s Bad About Being Too Good by Miriam, Ph.D. Elliott, Mariam, Ph.D. Adderholdt, Jan Goldberg, and Caroline Price (Paperback – Jul 1999)
Sometimes people become perfectionists due to parents pushing them to pass exams and succeed at everything or for some other reason. Perfectionists are very self-critical and beat themselves up emotionally for ages over such this as slightly offending someone in a conversation. They hold themselves to higher standards than everyone else expects or needs.
You can also search for books on OCD on amazon. Buy one or two until you find a good one. Its worth it to sort your life out.
The article says that people with OCD think in 100% black or white, all or nothing, perfect or spoilt/imperfect terms. They clean a kitchen, then if there is a tiny amount of dirt, it is no longer perfect and the whole kitchen must be cleaned again, not just the dirty spot.
Most people think in shades or grey, they just think of the kitchen at different times as a mess, fairly clean, averagely clean like anyone else’s, very clean, spotless now (but knowing it will need cleaning in a day or two).
For a start, read all about the problem of perfectionism, not the solutions yet. You need to understand the thought patterns, attitudes, beliefs and chain-of-reasoning involved.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is good. It gets you to write down your thoughts, feeling, beliefs about the kitchen or whatever, and most importantly the chain-of-reasoning used to reach a conclusion or belief that controls your actions. The chain-of-reasoning is often based on ilogical beliefs due to past traumas, low self esteem, shyness making you afraid of the world, etc. You look for mistakes in your reasoning and consider what a more realistic chain of reasoning and belief system would be. We behave according to out beliefs. Mind you, you can just recognise that you have free-will and don’t have to behave a particular way just because your feelings based on incorrect beliefs and past traumas tell you to.
Doing Cognitive behavioural therapy with a therapist is the ideal, but if you can’t afford it, at least read books and articles on it. A therapist with experience of OCD (and common issues such as dirt, bacteria and locks) has treated lots of similar patients and knows the solutions already.
In Cognitive behavioural therapy, you don’t depend forever on the therapist, you are taught the technique yourself and learn to be your own therapist, so you can deal with thoughts at any time.
In Cognitive behavioural therapy terms, your chain of reasoning to do with checking locks may be :-
Its sensible to check the door is locked before going out.
I must check the door is locked.
I must check it again to be completely sure (many times).
I must be 1000% sure that a burglar won’t get it.
If a burglar gets in, the house is ‘spoilt’ (no longer perfect).
Things are either perfect or they’re not. There are no shades of grey.
The house can never be uncontaminated and perfect again.
I will have to move house.
That’s why it’s vital to check the door is locked 20 times.
Its a chain of reasoning toward a conclusion, but not a realistic one.
You can see that as the chain-of-reasoning starts sensibly, then as it gets longer, you go further and further out on a limb, it gets more unrealistic and contains more and more things that another person wouldn’t accept without question as true. There are lots of things based on uncommon beliefs and unsupported by evidence. A therapist can help you right down what an equivalent valid chain of reasoning would be. Doing it on paper, not in your head, really helps.
I hope this is enough to covince you that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is worth pursuing. To try a little of this technique, do the chain of reasoning list above for door locking and write down what your own thoughts and chain of reasoning are. How does it look to you and to a friend? How good is the chain of reasoning?
Also, try writing down or typing into a word-processor what ‘dirt’ means to you and what ‘door-locking’ means to you. Again, how does it look to you and to a friend? What does it reveal? Are you beliefs based on incontravertible facts?
OCD can also be ‘displacement activity’, where you do one thing to avoid doing something else you find scary, like talking to new people. Just recognising this and what you’re avoiding goes a long way to helping with OCD.
Paul McKenna in the UK did a TV program where he cured a woman of repeatedly checking her front door was locked, by using NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques to gradually de-sensitise her to her concern over security. He does diet and smoking DVDs etc and is a stage hypnotist, but he wasn’t using hypnosis in the case, just NLP techniqies. The program was just to do with his interest in NLP and Psychology. He has websites and a wikipedia entry.
The woman in the program’s concerns (and yours) may be based on an extreme unnecessary fight-or-flight response that animals and humans have to something they fear (such as dirt). If a lion appeared, primitive man would get an adrenalin rush and he could stand up to the lion (fight) or run-away (flight). Phobias are where something unimportant (a bit of dirt that your bodies immune system can easily cope with) causes a 1000% over-the-top fear reaction, due to some bad experience in your past.
Read about the treatment of phobias.
Keep taking any medication that the doctor in charge of your case has prescribed for you. After some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, your need for medication should decrease and the doctor can see whether you are okay without medication.
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