Mental illnesses are becoming increasingly common in the modern world. Current studies estimate 26 percent of adults over the age of 18 have at least one mental disorder. As a result, there is nothing to be ashamed of if you believe you have a mental disorder. Instead, you should pursue diagnosis and treatment to return to living a normal life.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is one of the most common types of mental disorders that people struggle with. In general, the disorder is characterized by feeling an urge to repeatedly take unusual actions. However, there are many different types of OCD, so you should get a full understanding of common OCD rituals when considering whether you might have the disorder.
The psychiatric community defines obsessive-compulsive disorder as a disorder that causes unwanted ideas, thoughts, or obsessions. These unwanted thoughts regularly come up in a person’s mind in a way that inhibits their ability to live a healthy life. OCD rituals lead to unwanted repetitive behaviors, such as obsessive cleaning or hand washing.
In some cases, people may have obsessive behaviors that are healthy. For instance, if a person regularly forgets their laptop at home, they might get in the habit of checking their briefcase several times to confirm they have their laptop before leaving home. However, obsessive behaviors cross the line to OCD when they are done repeatedly in a way that makes no logical sense. For instance, someone with OCD might spend a full hour repeatedly checking their briefcase before going to work.
One of the major problems that characterize OCD is a sense of personal embarrassment or social shame for doing actions repeatedly. Nobody wants to feel as though they are unable to control themselves, and OCD patients are usually well aware that their repetitive behaviors are a problem. Perceptions of shame can be particularly severe when patients live with a difficult individual who is quick to call them out for their uncontrollable behaviors.
The other major issue with OCD is that repetitive behaviors usually consume a significant amount of time. The OCD patient who checks their briefcase repeatedly might engage in obsessive checking regardless of their responsibilities. Therefore, if the patient is running an hour late for work, they will still feel compelled to check their briefcase repeatedly. As a result, patients can lose their job, face demotions, and have trouble being reliable.
Finally, it is important to keep in mind that the nature and severity of obsessive behaviors can vary widely. Some patients struggle with multiple repetitive behaviors that can seriously disrupt their lives. Other patients only struggle with obsessive behaviors when they are alone.
When seeking to understand OCD rituals, it is important to understand the difference between obsessions and compulsions. Both obsessions and compulsions can be symptoms of OCD. Both of these concepts can also severely disrupt a patient’s mental health and ability to live an ordinary life. Most patients have problems with both obsessions and compulsions.
Obsessions are defined as recurrent impulses, thoughts, or mental images that lead to feelings of severe disgust or anxiety. In most cases, OCD patients recognize the fact that these recurrent thoughts are irrational and represent a problem. Nevertheless, these thoughts are so intrusive that OCD patients are not able to resolve them through their reasoning. As a result, OCD patients often try to ignore their obsessions by distracting themselves with activities that are often unhealthy.
One of the most common obsessions is an irrational fear of being contaminated by objects, viruses, or chemicals. Some patients may experience a fear of yelling out profanities or bringing up socially unacceptable concepts. Other people with OCD may have an obsession with ensuring that furniture or decorations are in perfect symmetry.
Obsessions usually emerge for no logical reason. In some cases, however, some patients begin to become overcome with obsessions after they experience trauma. Most obsessions emerge in early adulthood, but they can become prevalent at any age. It is also common for patients to become obsessed with a fear of losing a loved one if they have a history of experiencing major betrayals. These interpersonal obsessions can be particularly harmful because they can eventually make a person isolated, and isolation makes symptoms of OCD dramatically worse.
Compulsions are behaviors that people do in response to their obsessions. Since patients are unable to control their obsessions, they usually try to cope by taking some repetitive action that gets their mind off the obsession. Unfortunately, these repetitive actions are usually unhealthy, and they establish rituals that make most actions take dramatically longer. In many cases, these OCD rituals consume a person’s entire day.
Although compulsions are unhealthy in an ideal world, the reality is that these compulsions usually help patients to cope with their obsessions. For instance, many patients who experience mental images will repeatedly count to 100 or begin cleaning their house. When these patients take these actions, they are usually able to forget about their obsessions. However, as soon as these patients stop, thoughts of their obsessions will usually come back. Consequently, a vicious cycle can begin where patients return to a repetitive action indefinitely until they are interrupted by social interactions or the realization that an enormous amount of time has passed.
OCD is a problem that can emerge in many different forms. Therefore, diagnosis generally focuses on recognizing the presence of obsessions or compulsions. Some of the signs that treatment providers look for when diagnosing OCD include:
In other cases, patients may constantly feel a need to check up on their loved ones. Some patients also have problems with hoarding enormous quantities of useless items that serve no purpose except to help a patient ignore an obsession.
Addictions often start after seemingly innocent experimentation leads to the formation of a habit of substance abuse. Once a habit becomes routine, people often become physically or mentally dependent on the substance by the time they realize they have a problem. Unfortunately, stopping an addictive substance can be very painful, entail social stigma, or require institutionalization at a detox facility. Consequently, people usually attempt to put off getting help indefinitely until they have a health problem or someone in their life encourages them to correct their behavior.
Additionally, people are most likely to experiment with substances when they are in their teens and early 20s. Unfortunately, people at a young age usually do not have enough experience to understand the dangers of addictive substances. Furthermore, a person’s teens and early 20s are a time when they are still forming their mental habits and outlook on life.
Consequently, young people are extremely vulnerable to addictions. These addictions can then lead to the formation of mental disorders that can stay with a patient for life. When OCD and addiction occur at the same time, patients can experience exasperated problems that make living an ordinary life extremely difficult.
The medical community has developed a broad range of treatments for OCD. Most treatments focus on working through thought patterns while other treatment options make use of medications. Some forms of OCD can be resolved or significantly mitigated by changing a patient’s environment or interpersonal living situation.
When treating OCD, it is important to consider other health issues that a patient may be experiencing. Medications a patient is taking for another mental disorder can react badly with certain OCD medications. In less common situations, OCD can emerge as a consequence of taking medications.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common treatment methods that care providers recommend for OCD and addiction in today’s world. CBT aims to help patients work through unhealthy thought patterns so they can learn to cope effectively.
The problem with CBT is that it cannot always resolve issues with OCD. CBT can be particularly ineffective for resolving OCD and alcohol abuse problems at the same time since there may be physiological factors driving unwanted behaviors. Nevertheless, there have been cases when CBT has been effective at treating OCD and alcohol problems at the same time if a patient is drinking in response to their obsessions.
Of course, recreational drug use can also be a major problem for OCD patients, so it is crucial for patients to be honest with their care provider about how their use of drugs could be impacting their mental health. Many patients resist telling their care provider about drug use because they fear the repercussions of revealing information about illegal activities. Thankfully, mental health professionals are usually not allowed to report illegal drug use unless patients are at risk of causing harm to themselves or another person.
Co-occurring disorders are common among OCD patients, so care providers often recommend using dual-diagnosis treatments. In the dual diagnosis treatment environment, care providers aim to use research, collaboration, and their professional experience to provide patients with treatment options that resolve both problems that a patient is experiencing at the same time. Dual-diagnosis treatment options have been proven to be far more effective than conventional treatment approaches that fail to take into account how treatments can holistically impact a patient’s health. Treatments are particularly successful when patients are struggling with both OCD and addiction.
Thankfully, there are many treatment options available to resolve problems with OCD and addiction. Intrepid Detox Residential provides a full range of mental health services aimed at helping patients with OCD to return to living a happy and healthy life. Contact us today to learn more about what Intrepid Detox Residential has to offer.