Thursday, November 9, 2017

OCD: Sitting with the Imps

Many people don’t get just how strong the urge to do an OCD compulsion is. They might say, “Just don’t do it -- simple.” If only using simple logic to override a feeling was that easy -- if it was, there wouldn’t be a disorder.

OCD is an anxiety disorder. A sufferer gets obsessions and feels anxiety about them. In order to relieve that anxiety -- they bow to "irrational" compulsions. The reason it's so hard to resist compulsions is that they hold out the hope that they will make you feel better -- temporarily. No one likes feeling anxious. If you do the compulsions, you don’t need to feel anxious -- temporarily. But you can’t keep just doing the compulsions. If you want to recover from OCD -- you need to keep resisting them.

You know when you have a really bad itch you have to scratch? Or there’s a chocolate cake in front of you and you really want to eat a piece? Resisting a compulsion is like resisting those, but much worse -- with the added complications of bucketloads of anxiety, and intrusive thoughts about what will happen if you don’t. 

You just know, if you give in to the compulsion, a bit of relief might come. And who doesn’t want relief? Who would choose to do something that makes them anxious? 

But when you have OCD and want to recover -- you have to actually learn to sit with the anxiety and uncertainty and deny the compulsion. Eventually, it will get easier and you won’t feel as strong a need to do the compulsions -- but for now, you must actually suffer the anxiety.

Medication combined with therapy is effective in most cases of OCD. Try not to suffer, or feel like you're crazy. Reach out for help from professionals. Much has learned about the neuroscience of this troublesome disorder since the 1980s. It was estimated in days past, that it took, on average, 17 years to get a correct diagnosis and/or help. This is no longer the case.

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