Anxious thoughts can be helpful at times, they serve as a mechanism to ensure we are careful in our day to day lives. However, anxious thoughts can cause problems if these thoughts become obsessive, intrusive or distressing, especially if only specific rituals or behaviours can calm this anxiety.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is described as the experience of obsessions, taking the form of obtrusive thoughts, that can only be neutralised by compulsive mental or physical behaviours that ease fears regarding certain events. Constant cleaning, counting, checking, ordering or extreme levels of perfectionism are common behaviours of OCD sufferers. OCD is often chronic and debilitating, impacting on work and putting strain on relationships with family and friends. Since OCD is both mental and behavioural, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is considered the first line treatment as it addresses both the obsessive thoughts and resulting behaviours. Administered in sessions with a psychologist, CBT is proven to reduce the severity of symptoms, general distress, and associated depression whilst increasing general life functioning.
If you suspect that you or someone close to you is struggling with compulsion-related stress, help is available. Vision has numerous psychologists who specialize in CBT treatment for anxiety-related difficulties. Free Emotional Health Checkups are offered at both the Wishart and Loganholme and are a great place to start if you are unsure of who to see.