June 2010

There are so many different ways to treat OCD. It all depends on what type of symptoms you have and how severe. I have been in therapy for over 9 yeaars now and found that the best line of defense for my symptoms is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is one of  the best ways to attack your fears, get your anxiety up. The main goal in this is to stay in the situation as long as you can. Rate your anxiety level out of 10, 10 being the worst. The main goal is to be put in the situation that makes you feel anxious, and to stay exposed to it until your anxiety level drops to a 3.

Take baby steps when your trying this approach. At first, maybe leave the situation at a level 7, take some time to relax and then try exposure again. This will not all happen in one day, but eventually you will be exposed so much that you will not feel as anxious when you first started. The main goal is to get your anxiety level down to a 1.

This therapy is so difficult, trust me, but it works. I will always apply this method to my everyday life when tackling something that I am not sure of. It has made me a better person, friend, work and family man.

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OCD rituals can be at times tiring and painful. The rituals is the action needed to make the situation feel “right”. If you think that you are contaminated, the ritual might be to wash your hands, body, clothes etc. These rituals help you “feel better” for a short period of time and may drop your anxiety a bit, but this is only a short time fix. The best way to treat OCD rituals is to try and break the habit. I know this is a tough part of the treatment, but it works.

I have been living with OCD for 25 years now and my rituals ranged from: washing, cleaning, not touching certain things, saying certain words. I took me years before I could say the word “AIDS”. I know this sounds crazy, but I was able to be this disorder. With lots of therapy and medications, I was able to control my reactions to my OCD thoughts.

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We have found on the market some great books on dealing with children who have OCD. I have been living with OCD for 25 years now, and can say I did show symptoms when I was 9 years old. I was never really told about this disorder nor did my family know how to understand and deal with it. The key word is to UNDERSTAND that this is a mental disorder and there is nothing to be ashamed about. Don’t let your kids growing up thinking it will never stop, the thoughts, the compulsions. It can, It did for me.

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The best type of therapy that worked for me was exposure therapy. I have been living with OCD for 25 years now, and can tell you, this disorder takes up a lot of your energy. I have been in therapy now for years, and the one major thing I learned was to face your fears. This is true in so many levels.

Exposure therapy is one of the most toughest and if not stressful form of therapy. I have tried everything, from medications to talking and groups. This form of therapy helped me get over my ocd, and now I am “ocd free”. I still get the thoughts, and want to complete the compulsions, but I have learned how to control it.

Simple tasks use to take me hours to complete, but now, everyday tasks are just that, normal tasks. The type of ocd I have is all about contamination. I would wash my hands 150 to 200 times per day. It would take me 50 mins. to complete a shower, and the list goes on.

If you get the opportunity to take part in group therapy, try it. It was actually fun! I met so many people, and learned that I was not the only one in this world who felt like I was going crazy.

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The one thing most people dislike about OCD is the “OCD thoughts”. These can be any images or ideas that just appear in your mind for no reason, which sets off unwanted anxiety. Thoughts like hurting someone, acting or going crazy. When these thoughts appear, the best way to not to avoid them. Face the fear, write it all down so you can go back to it at a later time. Exposure is the best way to tackle this problem.

I had a thought that every time I was driving and hit a speed bump, I would panic and think that I might of ran over somebody. If I didn’t go back to check, I would be charged with hit and run, thrown into jail. Never to see the sunset, and I would go on from here. To avoid that terrible situation, I would u-turn and go back to check and make sure nobody was hit. In the mind of the OCDer this is normal.

The right way to deal with this is to keep on driving. Never go back and check,(compulsion). I know it’s not that simple, but you have to try. This has taken me years before I could not go back. I would not be able to sleep and worry about this for days. I would even watch the news to see if there was a story about a hit and run.

How did I beat this?

I will explain in my next posting

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