Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder of the brain that involves unwanted, intrusive thoughts that produce high levels of distress, which lead to repetitive behaviors that interfere with daily functioning.
OCD is not just something I learned about in a book, but an insidious monster I have wrestled with, and now have under control. I have experienced the intrusive thoughts that have produced terrifying feelings, which led to repetitive, ritualistic behaviors. I understand the feelings of despair produced by a life hijacked by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have survived the raging waters, and now want to throw out a lifejacket to others who are suffering from this disorder.
Many people will know what the acronym, OCD stands for, yet not understand the severity of this illness. I have heard many times, by well meaning people, that they have OCD too, when in fact, they are clueless. Even worse, I have been criticized with comments like, “Just stop it!” or “Quit that gibberish!”. These dismissive statements further isolate the sufferer.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder does not occur in a vacuum; therefore, there are many factors to consider when developing a treatment plan. These factors include co-occurring conditions, a support system, and environmental stressors. I use the scientifically recommended approach, Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This approach is designed to reset the brain’s faulty alarm system through the process of desensitization.