Living with OCD (The ultimate guide)

Living with OCD

Living with OCD – A complete guide to understanding the everyday life of a person with OCD.

Living with OCD (The ultimate guide)

In this guide, we are going to discuss how a person lives with OCD

Living with OCD

Every day people face a series of situations, both physical and mental, which can interrupt their daily activities to a greater or lesser extent.

There are people with physical and mental illnesses who can to some extent lead a healthy and comfortable lifestyle, but there are people who suffer from certain diseases that can turn their daily lives as a heaviness.

They live in constant anxiety, everything around them causes concern because they live thinking that, if they did something or not, their head does not stop generating thoughts leading them to the point of not being able to live a quiet life, so a person lives with OCD

The person who is living with OCD lives their day to day in a very distressing way.

He worries too much about things that often don’t matter.

The person who is living with OCD is afraid of getting a disease, afraid of leaving home and leaving something on or the door open, has thoughts that disturb his head, that is, he lives in a constant state of alertness.

It is normal for human beings to feel anxiety, low levels are healthy, but when anxiety reaches high points it can be very difficult to live with those symptoms.

Sometimes it is difficult for the person living with OCD to lead a life where they can relate to other people.

If you are afraid of being contaminated, you will avoid exposing yourself to places where you feel there is contamination and if you go, you will be at all times taking measures to prevent contamination.

The person who is living with OCD in many cases gets up very tired since it has spent most of the night worrying and thinking about the day that awaits.

When you start your day, everything should go as planned.

If something does not go according to what is established in your ritual, you feel that your day will not go well and your levels of distress increase.

Not all people living with OCD will perform the same behaviours. People develop different obsessions and compulsions.

Some behaviours turn to clean, others to have a strict order of everything around them and others to perform certain rituals that are part of their day.

Here, what each of these behaviours has in common is the repetitive way in which they are carried out.

Living with OCD (The ultimate guide)

What is OCD?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a mental disorder where the person suffering from it has repetitive and undesirable thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations and behaviours that propel them to do something over and over again.

For a person to be able to get rid of obsessive thoughts due to OCD, it performs certain behaviours, but this only gives relief in the short term.

When the person does not perform his rituals, he feels enormous anxiety and suffers enough until it fails to carry it out.

Living with OCD (The ultimate guide)

OCD symptoms

People who are living with OCD have symptoms of obsessions and compulsions.

In both, the following behaviours occur:

Obsessions: within obsessions, the person generates impulsive thoughts or repeated images, persistent and unwanted which cause anxiety or anguish.

Among the most frequent obsessions are:

  • Systematic order in all things
  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Anxiety and fear of losing something
  • Have unwanted thoughts about sex, religion or aggressions
  • Have everything in perfect order
  • Thoughts where the person is hurting or hurting others
  • Doubts about whether you left something on or forgot to close something

Compulsions: in compulsions, the person performs repetitive behaviours and which it feels obliged to comply.

These behaviours the person must carry out or else their anxiety levels will remain high.

Compulsions can be accompanied in many cases by obsessions, and among the most frequent are:

  • Wash and clean repeatedly
  • Check again and again if the door is closed or the burner is off
  • Keep everything in order
  • Wash your hands repetitively

It is common for the person living with OCD to perform several of these behaviours throughout the day.

When he feels that it does not perform some of its “rituals,” he feels that something is not right and begins to fill with anxiety.

The only way that can calm anxiety is when the person does the activities it do repetitively throughout the day.

Living with OCD (The ultimate guide)

OCD causes

There are several causes about why a person can develop an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD.

Several investigations indicate that the brain of a person with OCD works differently.

The causes for which the brain can function in a way that leads the person to repeat some behaviours are still unknown.

From this, it is based on the fact that there is not a single cause that leads the person to develop OCD. Among the causes are:

  • Genetic factors: A person who has had a family member who has developed OCD may be more likely to develop the disorder. I don’t know exactly what genes are involved for a person to develop OCD.
  • Infections: several investigations argue that children and adolescents who have had an infection before can lead to the development of obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
  • Stress or situations that generate trauma: obsessive-compulsive disorder is not caused by stress, but a stressful situation can activate the symptoms of the disorder.

How can a person have a better quality of life living with OCD?

When the person begins a treatment to improve the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, these can result in an improvement in the quality of life of the person.

It is normal for the person to experience relapses during their process, but a large part of the people with the disorder have had improvements, where obsessions or compulsions are less intense.

The treatment for a person who is living with OCD does not in many cases mean a definitive cure, but a considerable improvement where he can take control of his life.

Some of the most used and effective treatments for a person living with OCD are the following:

Psychotherapy

Treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has proven to be one of the most effective in treating a person living with OCD.

Within the therapy, various exposure techniques are used to those where the person may be afraid or cause anxiety and lead to the performance of compulsive behaviours.

An example is a person who is afraid of becoming contaminated and therefore cleans excessively.

In therapy, the person is exposed to certain situations where there may be dirt so that he can learn to deal with it.

This type of technique is done gradually and depending on the severity of the disorder in a person’s life.

As this disease can involve family and friends or people with whom the person with OCD lives, these at certain times must form for the therapy since in one way or another they suffer some of the symptoms that the person experiences with TOC.

Medicines

Certain medications have been used to treat OCD symptoms to control obsessions and compulsions.

Among the first are antidepressants, and then among the most used are Clomipramine, Fluvoxamine, Fluoxetine, Paroxetine and Sertraline.

Each of these has a use that is consistent with age and doses according to how strong the symptoms can be.

The combination of therapy and medications has proven to be a very efficient tool to control the symptoms of OCD and that the person can lead to a better quality of life.

Living with OCD (The ultimate guide)

FAQs about living with OCD

Can a person prevent OCD?

A person cannot prevent OCD, but what he can do is that, when symptoms occur, go to a health professional to control the symptoms of the disorder.

What happens if a person does not receive treatment for OCD over time?

If a person does not receive treatment for this type of disorder, it may get worse over time, affecting their quality of life.

This and like any other disorder that a person may have, the faster the diagnosis, the better the treatment will have on the person.

Can the OCD eventually heal on its own?

No. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a chronic mental illness.

It does not heal on its own and does not heal completely.

The person, therefore, needs treatment to have a better quality of life.

Apart from treatment with psychological therapy and medications, what other types of treatment can a person who is living with OCD receive?

Alternative therapies such as meditation are used to accompany established treatments.

Meditation helps the person to relax and free its mind of the number of thoughts that makes him behave that way.

Also exercising helps reduce the levels of anxiety that the person may present as part of the symptoms of the disorder.

Who is more likely to develop OCD?

The OCD can affect both men and women and children equally.

In countries like the United States, 1 in 40 adults suffers from OCD and 1 in 100 children also suffers from the disorder.

In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that 1.2% of the population suffers from OCD, or that 12 out of 100 suffer from this disorder.

Conclusion

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or OCD is a disorder that negatively affects the life of the person who suffers it and also influences the people around him.

A person with OCD lives his life under a ritual of actions that if he fails to complete any of these during his day-to-day life, he may be faced with high levels of anxiety and tension until he can do it.

The symptoms of the OCD can manifest themselves in different ways since in some people the obsessive and compulsive actions they perform are related to cleaning excessively and others in keeping everything tidy, that is, the symptoms can be different for each person.

OCD is a disease that requires treatment because it cannot cure on its own.

It is a disease that cannot be prevented, that is, anyone is a possible candidate to develop OCD.

The positive is that there are various treatments to treat OCD and which have been proven to have given excellent results.

To treat the OCD this must be by mental health professionals who have knowledge about the disorder and the steps to follow.

Recommended links

  1. Coping with OCD: Practical Strategies for Living Well with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  2. Living With OCD: A Powerful Guide to Understanding Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Children And Adults
  3. Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 
  4. Breaking Free from OCD: A CBT Guide for Young People and Their Families 

Recommended videos 

  1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – Through My Eyes
  2. LIVING WITH OCD (OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER)
  3. Howie Mandel Talks About Living With OCD / 20/20 / ABC News 

References 

  1. Living with OCD 
  2. Living with OCD 

About OCD

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Daniela Paez is a Clinical Psychologist with an MSc. In Clinical Neuropsychology from Bangor University. She has vast experience in working with children with disabilities, adolescents and their families, in extreme conditions of poverty and vulnerability. Additionally, she owns a private practice where she provides neuropsychological evaluation for children and adults, and treatment for mood disorders, anxiety, couple therapy, among other conditions.