Here at The Rosy Room- Psychology Practice Springfield Lakes, our principal Psychologist Jessica Edkins has a strong interest in managing anxiety disorders, in particular- OCD.
OCD is a term which is often used incorrectly in the context of someone being a “neat freak” or “anal”. OCD is much more complicated than wanting to keep our house perfectly tidy or colour matching our pegs to our clothes. OCD is a debilitating disorder that can completely take over someone’s thoughts and behaviours, interfering with family life, social life, work and overall wellbeing.
The core underlying issue with OCD is lacking trust in oneself. This can develop from an early age and cause feelings of anxiety or distress. Checking behaviour and other rituals become the individual’s way of reducing this anxiety. At first the checking works, at least in the short term. But just like any other unhelpful habit or behaviour, we get used to a certain amount, build a tolerance and then the behaviour has to increase in order for us to keep the anxiety away. For example, a person who feels compelled to wash their hands 3 times to ensure they are clean may eventually feel that 3 is not enough and have to increase it to 5 and so on. As you can see, it becomes a very viscous cycle. The good news is that OCD is very treatable, and with some persistence and dedication to therapy you can learn to stop letting the anxious thoughts and feelings control your behaviour so you can get on with living a rich and meaningful life.
So what is OCD?
OCD is characterised by recurrent obsessions and/or compulsions that are severe enough to be time consuming or cause significant distress or impairment.
Obsessions are persistent ideas, thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate and that cause significant anxiety or distress. The most common obsessions are repeated thoughts about contamination (e.g. becoming contaminated by shaking hands), repeated doubts (e.g. wondering whether one has performed some act such as hurting someone in a traffic accident or having left a door unlocked), a need to have things in a particular order (e.g. intense distress when objects are disordered or asymmetrical), aggressive or horrific impulses (e.g.to hurt ones child or to yell out a profanity in public), and sexual imagery (e.g. a recurrent pornographic image). When suffering from OCD you might only experience one obsession or you might experience many. There are many others outside of this common list.
Compulsions are repetitive behaviours (e.g. hand washing, ordering, checking) or mental acts (e.g. praying, counting, repeating words silently) the goal of which is to prevent or reduce anxiety or distress. In most cases the person feels driven to perform the compulsion to reduce the distress that accompanies an obsession or to prevent some dreaded event or situation. Again, when presenting with OCD you may only have one particular compulsion or you may have several.
If you are suffering from OCD or know somebody who is, the Psychologists at the Rosy Room can help. We can teach you the tools needed to take action and to start getting in control of your life.
At The Rosy Room, Psychology Practice Springfield Lakes we offer psychological services for the management of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) for clients across Springfield, Brookwater, Jindalee, Forest Lake, Ipswich and surrounding areas. To find out more about our services or to book an appointment, contact us now on 07 3818 2076.