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"I was uncomfortable with the numbers 8 and 2." What is OCD and who is at risk
"I was uncomfortable with the numbers 8 and 2." What is OCD and who is at risk

If you can't get rid of your anxious thoughts and are forced to do bizarre rituals to alleviate your anxiety, it may be time to see a doctor.

"I was uncomfortable with the numbers 8 and 2." What is OCD and who is at risk
"I was uncomfortable with the numbers 8 and 2." What is OCD and who is at risk

Remember how important it was in childhood for my mother to tuck in the blanket before going to bed, kiss her forehead and certainly say: "Good night, sweetheart!" It was the "sweetheart" - from this the soul became calm, calm, so that even the shaggy bedside monsters wandered off. It was such a ritual.

Children often use self-soothing rituals. Count the steps on the way to school, bypass wells, bite your nails, and so on. The more unhealthy relationships in the family, the higher the standards of behavior are set, the more sophisticated the ways of self-regulation become.

Adults also think they can influence reality through certain actions. This is the essence of superstition: spit over your shoulder, knock on wood, read a conspiracy, cross yourself. In any religion, by the way, there are a lot of rituals. That is why visiting temples inspires peace and tranquility for many.

Usually, isolated obsessive thoughts are not bothersome - at least for most people. But in some cases, the picture develops into symptoms of a neurotic disease - obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

How to catch the line after which rituals and intrusive thoughts become a problem requiring treatment?

How does OCD manifest?

The main symptoms of OCD are obsessions and compulsions. A certain cognitive-behavioral scheme is triggered in a person:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder: a cognitive-behavioral scheme
Obsessive-compulsive disorder: a cognitive-behavioral scheme

Obsessions are obsessive thoughts and desires that flood the mind and cause tremendous anxiety. For a person with OCD, a thought is equivalent to an action. It seems to him that it is material and, if something is not done, something terrible, irreparable will happen.

When a person experiences anxiety, in principle, he tends to fall into business activity: performing actions gives the feeling that you are in control of the situation, anxiety decreases. But in the case of OCD, the actions performed - the compulsions - are excessive and sometimes fanciful. They look incomprehensible to others. For example, a person lays out clothes strictly according to colors, enters the door only with his left foot, and if he is mistaken, he returns and enters again, repeating the last words spoken twice.

Michael 29 years old

The first signs of frustration appeared long ago. I just didn’t immediately understand that it was a disease, I thought it was like that for everyone. I was uncomfortable with the numbers 8 and 2. And only the 298 bus went from my house to the metro, so I walked for about 30 minutes in any weather.

Then I began to think that if I was not kind to my mother, then God would punish me - she would get sick and die. I imagined the funeral, what kind of people would come to say goodbye. These thoughts took a lot of my time and energy. I could not study normally and generally concentrate on something - there was a fog in my head. For a while, the mantra “Pah-pah-pah! Not with me!"

Important: Obsessions in OCD differ from obsessions in schizophrenia in that they are perceived by a person as their own, and not imposed by other people or circumstances.

The fears that cause anxiety in OCD sufferers vary, but there are also those that are most common. For example, fear of infection or fear of harming other people. It also happens that someone is more inclined to “think up”, and someone, on the contrary, “to act”.

Can OCD Be Hereditary?

Most often, the onset of the disease is associated with stress. But it is still a trigger - the true causes of OCD are hidden in genetics, physiology and the conditions of upbringing of a single person, when an anxious-phobic personality structure is formed. She is characterized by suspiciousness, anxiety, constant doubts about the correctness of her actions. Often such people are shy, they experience failures for a long time, they see danger in everything.

So it is quite possible to get a tendency to compulsive thinking and doing by inheritance. Family generally plays a large role in neurotic illness, and OCD is no exception.

Inna 34 years old

Obsessions began in my childhood. In general, I was a nervous and sensitive child. My grandmother, with whom I stayed in the summer, told me about a village sorceress who “sent damage” to a neighbor's boy, and in the same month he drowned in the river. Since then, when I passed women with dark hair, I crossed my fingers in my pocket: so, it seemed to me, I was protecting myself from the evil eye. Now, when I hear the news about murders, terrorist attacks, catastrophes, I cannot stop thinking that something terrible will happen to my family. To get rid of panic, I need to present these thoughts in the palm of my hand and blow them away.

Parents transmit a hidden message to their child: the world is dangerous, check everything several times. They do it with the best of intentions, but as a result, a person grows up and is faced with the fact that he must fulfill the requirements of a world in which he does not feel trust. He has a persistent lack of confidence in the norm of behavior and thinking, as a result - confusion and anxiety.

Family pseudo-religiosity and belief in the paranormal also resonates in the development of OCD. Various media support this belief: popular shows about psychics, magicians, otherworldly forces. If a person is initially susceptible to illness, he finds support for his belief that his thoughts can harm someone. To prevent this from happening, rituals are performed. Here's your finished OCD.

Nikita, 18 years old

I saved money for several months and finally bought a new smartphone. I was very afraid of breaking it, and from that day on, the thought began to haunt me that I myself was throwing it out of the window of my apartment and watching it fly and crash on the ground. I couldn't help but think about it. It helped me to clap my hands loudly seven times - exactly seven, this is the phone model number. Then the glamor receded for a while. At school, I had to go to the toilet to do this ritual, or endure it - I still didn't want to look like a fool in front of the whole class.

How to understand when it is time to see a doctor

Contact a specialist if:

  • You often have unpleasant, disturbing thoughts that cannot be eliminated by willpower.
  • Pondering such thoughts takes a lot of time and seriously interferes with your performance, communication and rest. Ordinary life fades into the background.
  • Often, thoughts seem ridiculous or dangerous to you, and it is embarrassing to tell your loved ones about them.
  • You are forced to perform strange, repetitive actions in order to feel relief from painful experiences at least for a while.

It's not OCD if:

  • You hum the same song for half a day. This phenomenon is called "earworm". The principle of free associations often works: we are looking for a lost thing, and Zemfira's “Seeking” appears in the brain.
  • Believe in omens or follow religious rules. The simplest rituals associated with belief in something supernatural, incomprehensible, help get rid of anxiety and nervous tension. This is especially true for suspicious people. He spat three times over his shoulder - and you can cross the road after a black cat, and your soul is calm.
  • You put everything on the shelves, because you love order in everything. If you do not spend days on this occupation, then you were just brought up to be neat. Or a perfectionist.
  • Some event has deeply hurt and upset you, and you have been thinking about it for several days. It is normal for a person to experience a stressful situation for a while. Gradually, the acuity of sensations decreases and life returns to its former course.

How OCD is Treated

Neurotic disorders such as OCD are treated by a psychiatrist. Self-medication will not help here. OCD is a fairly complex disorder. In severe cases, a person can become disabled when he is so absorbed in obsessive thoughts and rituals that he is not able to live a normal life, work and communicate. Almost all the time is spent on thinking and performing actions that help get rid of painful experiences.

Drug therapy

Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants are often used to treat OCD. They are effective and indicated in cases where the disease significantly affects the quality of life. With OCD, stable biochemical reactions to the object of fear arise in the brain, and drugs just contribute to their destruction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This method is used under the supervision of a physician. Situations are created for the patient that usually cause fear in him. The main condition is to restrain yourself and not perform the usual ritual. For example, if your obsessions are associated with fear of germs and infections, the first thing to learn to do is to touch door handles and handrails and not wash your hands afterwards.

Social competence training

Here you will be taught what your parents failed to teach: trust yourself and the world around you. The training takes place in groups. It analyzes the specific life problems of the participants, helps to determine the personal standard of the norm, and form new social skills and behavioral models.

Family systemic therapy

Family psychotherapists, working in a systems approach, believe that obsessions perform a protective and protective function for the family. They also use the prescription paradox method to treat OCD. In contrast to cognitive-behavioral therapy, where it is important to avoid adherence to the ritual, "family managers" prescribe patients to perform it according to all the rules and under the supervision of the whole family. Did the child start washing his hands three times? Let him wash 10! At the same time, dad considers, and mom makes sure that he lathers for a long time, to the elbows and with lush foam, otherwise it does not count. As a rule, after two weeks of this ritual, the symptoms go away.

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