Anxiety is something we all deal with to some extent; it cannot be completely avoided. However, if you have OCD, you know struggles on a regular basis are difficult. The compulsion or ritual to avoid a perceived stressor seems to provide relief temporarily. Instead, folks tend to get caught into a cycle of repeated behaviors to manage emotions. I’ve NEVER met anyone that enjoys being in the cycle, but the cycle seems for many to be safer than doing nothing. I’ve met folks that felt the need to wash their hands repeatedly, open and close a door, check that certain appliances have been turned off and or obsessing over certain thoughts. Of course, these can be different for folks, as are behaviors within the ritual or compulsion, for instance some folks say they need to wash their hands twice each time they eat, open a door 3 times and close it before leaving, etc..
The point is not what do you do or not or how many times you do these behaviors. The point is that the identified and used solutions are actually part of the problem that are keeping you stuck in this cycle. The event/s, whatever it is are not the real problem. In our minds they may seem to be the problem, but the behaviors (compulsions or rituals) are the actual problem. The solution needs to be altered.
Treatment is not cookie cutter; it can look different. The need for changing the solution overtime is what across the board is the same for everyone. We need to understand what the interpretation of a situation/experience is in order to work to assist in managing the emotional reaction which together along with the ritual/compulsion is where we fine the negative cycle. Once we understand the way the experience is being understood (interpretation) we then can recognize the emotional reaction whether fear, guilt, anxiety, shame, etc..). Then the ritual/compulsion which is the current solution can be examined and processed in therapy. Again, many different interventions which can be used to overtime to change the current solution.
If you or someone you love is struggling with OCD, therapy can be very helpful at taking back control over your life instead of feeling controlled by situations/experiences. You deserve to enjoy life and not be held captive by it! Feel free to contact me and let’s get to work. (PA residents)