The current BBC Three documentary “Extreme OCD Camp” highlights the excessive lengths that sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder will go to try to cope with their condition. However, it is not necessary to take such extreme measures, as you will find out later in this blog.
Surprisingly many very successful people suffer from OCD including David Beckham, captain of England, part of the Olympic bid and the face of numerous advertising campaigns. Beckham has admitted he hates odd numbers and is obsessed with symmetry – if there’s three of something; he has to hide the third somewhere out of sight. If something is askew, he can’t rest until the row has been straightened. Before he can settle into a hotel room, he says he puts all of the books and pamphlets together in a drawer. Others celebrities such as Cameron Diaz have admitted to washing her hands constantly and to opening the doors with her elbows. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Whilst some of this behaviour may sound bizarre and even faintly amusing, for people who struggle with more serious OCD however, it is absolutely no joke and completely dominates their lives.
The World Health Organization lists OCD as among the 10 biggest causes of disability, yet many sufferers keep their illness hidden and the condition is often the subject of skepticism and derision.
OCD has two main features: obsessions, such as constant unpleasant and intrusive thoughts about issues such as contamination and symmetry; and compulsions, the irresistible urge to behave in a certain way.
Men and women are equally affected, and OCD is thought to run in families, suggesting it may have a biological cause. Some research has shown that changes in brain activity and pattern may also cause the condition, and it often occurs alongside other illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.
Most importantly Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), an influential school of CBT, are recommended by National Health as the first line therapy for OCD
A central tenant of REBT is that it is not events themselves that cause psychological disturbance but the view that we take of these events, our beliefs, which may be rational or irrational. People with OCD believe that their obsessions will somehow lead to disastrous outcomes for themselves or others. This sense of responsibility leads to self-denigration and heightened anxiety. In order to reduce their anxiety, they perform compulsive behaviours. When their anxiety is reduced and nothing catastrophic happens, the compulsions are reinforced strengthening the likelihood of repetition.
REBT helps the people to recognize that their anxiety and distress are provoked by their irrational thoughts and beliefs. They are taught how to dispute these and replace them with more rational coping statements. They are helped to develop unconditional self-acceptance about themselves and their condition enabling them to understand that compulsions are only temporarily anxiety reducing. It helps them to learn to tolerate their anxiety without resorting to compulsive behavior. As well as minimizing their low frustration tolerance about their OCD it also shows them through the use of other to cognitive, emotive, and behavioral techniques to cut down OCD’s primary symptoms of self-defeating counting, checking, repeating, ordering, and other obsessive-compulsive rituals.
Many people leave it for years before seeking treatment for their OCD (typically 12 years). So you don’t have to go to the Wilderness and you don’t have to suffer in silence, learn and try REBT, the CBT therapy that works on the symptom as well as providing a philosophy on life. http://tinyurl.com/poy4ln6