Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder effecting about 2% of men.  It’s characteristics are repeated and uncontrollable ‘obsessions’, which are intrusive thoughts that are not consistent with the man’s values, and ‘compulsions’, which are behaviours or thinking patterns that people use to neutralise the impact of the compulsive thought.

Examples of Obsessions include:

  • Thoughts that things are unclean or contaminated.
  • Thoughts of having sex with your mother or other inappropriate people.
  • Imagining your children being hurt by a stranger.
  • Thinking ‘gay thoughts’ even though you are straight.
  • Thinking you have knocked someone down in the car.

Examples of Compulsions include:

  • Repeated washing.
  • Repeated checking.
  • Doing things in even or odd multiples.
  • Performing rituals.
  • Excessive prayer.
  • Excessive hoarding.

Of course OCD is just an extreme form of what we all are capable of doing.  We are all familiar with the idea of setting off for the airport and getting anxious about whether we have locked the door or turned the gas off.  In OCD though, this feeling permeates all areas of the person’s life, and can be deeply disabling.  People can be in an anxiety state almost all the time.

We all tend to experience anxiety in different ways.  If you tend to experience anxiety with obsessions and/or compulsions, what can be done about it?

Well understanding your difficulty is a start.  You can get detailed information about OCD and hoarding at Everydayhealth.com.

Treatment from a psychotherapist involves understanding what triggers your obsessions and compulsions, and learning new patterns of behaviour which means you can tolerate intrusive thoughts more easily, and are therefore less likely to get caught up in them and indulge in neutralising compulsions.  Understanding your OCD is important because it will not go away on its own, and may well get worse.

Drug treatments are also available for OCD which may suit some people.  Drug treatment should be combined with psychotherapy to get the best results.

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