Obsession and compulsion- that is the core of obsessive compulsive disorder. What drives the obsessions in OCD is not usually pleasant. The compulsions are usually small behaviors to try and cope with those unpleasant thoughts. Since the thoughts are categorized as obsessions, that means they aren’t fleeting. The uncomfortable thoughts are persistent, recurring, and ruminating. Meaning, that they don’t stop until they are satisfied in some way. Compulsive behaviors are that way. Compulsions are more than urges, they are obsessive urges, because they are connected to the obsession. Typically, the relationship between the two is irrational. For example, the commonly portrayed version of OCD including a hyperfocus on germs or cleanliness. It’s likely the event causing the obsessive thoughts was relatively “dirty” or made the person feel unclean. Thus, the compulsive behaviors include a focus on sanitation behaviors. Though it makes sense, it’s irrational that compulsive, repetitive behaviors will “clean” up the past.
Coping with OCD
At first consideration, these behaviors seem harmless. At least someone with OCD has found a way to cope with their difficult past. However, the obsessive need to engage in these behaviors can be debilitating and interfere with the ability to have a job, take care of one’s self, or have intimate relationships.
You might be living with the early signs of OCD is you live with obsessive thoughts. As the result of your obsessive thoughts, you find that you need to do something to relieve them. If that behavior is the same behavior over and over again, you’ve developed a compulsion. You might experience small “tics” as they are called, which disrupt your normal patterns of behavior. If you can’t tell that you are suffering from obsessions or compulsions, you might notice other behaviors which just might seem quirky. For example, you have to wear the same outfit everyday or the same pair of jeans every Tuesday. You have small routines which, when altered or interfered with, cause you a great amount of stress.
Early intervention with OCD is the best way to prevent the disorder from growing unmanageable or spreading into other harmful behaviors. OCD can be co-occurring with drug addiction and alcoholism as well as eating disorders. There can be an inclination toward self-harm or other harmful behaviors as well.
If you or a loved one are in need of residential treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder and any co-occurring issues, call Avalon By The Sea. We are one of California’s only treatment centers providing primary mental health care for mental health disorder diagnosis. For a confidential assessment, call 888-958-7511.