Obsessive Compulsive Disorder earlier was part of Anxiety Disorders but in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders it has been given a standing of its own.
OCD has been a topic of comedy , parody or horror in movies -Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good As It Gets , sitcoms like Monk etc. It can be a very debilitating, restricting disorder. Isolating oneself and isolation of oneself from social circumstances and people become the norm.
It is characterized by repetitive ritualistic behavior related to grooming , counting, organizing things, excessive cleaning etc which generates anxiety and fears if not followed through and also anxiety and fear if one does follow through with the action and intrusive repetitive thoughts. The rituals are never enough to ease tension.
The following repetitive compulsions are frequently observed in people with OCD:
Individuals with OCD usually have been seen to have an experience of sexual abuse or molestation in the past following which the symptoms have been elicited.
Another theory is of an imbalance of serotonin in the brain , a neurotransmitter involved in emotional regulation, moods, metabolism, sleeping patterns, and vasopressin, a hormone that affects fluid regulation and cellular function, have been associated with the behaviors and thought processes of OCD. Structural abnormalities in the frontal lobes and basal ganglia of the brain — areas associated with cognition and movement — have also been identified in people with OCD.
In individuals who have OCD from childhood is most likely to get into substance use and addiction as substances are seen to reduce anxiety and internal tension . The substances that are usually seen to do this are downers like weed, hash and alcohol . As children with OCD they are often teased and bullied by other children and face a lot of social isolation , timidity , shyness, low self - esteem etc. and hence follow easy prey to substance use and abuse, to look cool, fit in with the peers and the major, reliever of anxiety and terror.
Using can be alone or as a social lubricant as they isolate themselves to be housebound because of their several severe anxieties and repetitive intrusive thought processes.
People with OCD manage to hide their symptoms and distress for so long from their families that help received is often very late and they also then manage to hide the substance use and abuse from those around them .
Many times anti depressant medications are known to help in easing ou the anxieties and distress in OCDs.
For a combination with Addiction an integrated approach is required.
Counseling Solutions- The OCD fears and symptoms are faced and acted upon so that the individual has the experience of realising that facing one’s fears one by one and countering them with reality without or despite the anxiety surfacing helps in getting beyond the Obsessive Compulsive thought processes.
Introspective writing enables one to safely watch and detach one’s emotions from personally perceived painful incidents .
Meditative techniques – For those suffering from OCD and Addiction, active meditative techniques which involve the body help more as any technique involving sitting still will lead to overworking of the already overworked mind.
An environment that is accepting, non- judgemental, patient and compassionate wherein one on one counselling can be done in tandem with working with a psychiatrist for medication works best. We at Anatta provide such an environment .
Help is available.