Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

July 4, 2008 7:57am CST
There have been a lot of discussions about what OCD characteristics people suffer from, but I want to ask what you do about it? Also, what on earth causes an otherwise rational person to have no control over nonsensical compulsions. I have an awful lot of OCD "quirks" myself and I think it's times of higher stress that makes them worse, but I just don't know how to overcome them, or why I have them in the first place. There seems to be no rhyme or reason behind it all. Sometimes I think I'm losing control when I'm really bad and I just don't know how to help myself. Does anyone have any insight for me? I'd be grateful.
6 responses
@mentalward (14693)
• United States
5 Jul 08
That is caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain. There is nothing you can do about it short of taking medication. I'm sure you can learn to control the obsessive compulsions, but they won't go away unless you can alter the chemical imbalance, and the only way I know of to do that is with medication. I don't have it myself, but I do have panic disorder syndrome which basically has the same cause: a chemical imbalance in the brain. I've been on medication for that for about 15 years now. I haven't had a panic attack since the doctors found the right medication for me. I took Paxil, then Zoloft but now am on Xanax. I know that Paxil and Zoloft help with OCD, but I'm not sure about Xanax. It works great for my panic attacks, though! Don't worry... you're not alone, and you're NOT crazy! (I've gone through THAT feeling, too!) You need to see your doctor about it. A general practitioner might not be able to help, though, since it is a neurological thing. I had to see a psychiatrist to get the medication, and saw her once every 2 or 3 months for "medication monitoring" for awhile, but now my general practitioner gives me the prescrition. I wish you the best!
5 Jul 08
Thank you for responding! Is it completely caused by chemical imbalance or are there psychological reasons that can play a part too? I'm glad you've found a method that helps you control your disorder. It's a shame we have to put chemicals into our bodies though isn't it? I'm taking Citalopram already for depression. I don't know if upping the dose would help me. I've been going through an extra stressful time lately and the doctor also gave me some valium to take as and when I feel I need it, but I don't want to be taking it very often because of the horror stories I've heard about how addictive it can be.
@mentalward (14693)
• United States
6 Jul 08
I can only assume that is is similar to panic disorder syndrome in that one feeds the other. You can become "acclimated" to the problem; that is, once you begin a certain "response" you can develop a habit to do it whenever that specific situation arises. I'm confusing myself here, so I'll try to make it simpler. When I would have a panic attack, I tended to get panic attacks whenever I was in the same situation, like grocery shopping or driving or something like that. So, the problem that began as a chemical imbalance began to take on psychological characteristics; i.e. I developed a psychological response to the previous attack. The "fear" of having another attack in that same situation (grocery shopping, etc.) would actually bring on an attack. So, yes, I believe that there can be psychological causes along with the chemical ones. But I don't think that problems like OCD or PDS begin as a psychological problem; they are strictly chemical-based at first. Does that make any sense? Also, you are very wise about how you take the valium. It is extremely addictive! I was addicted to it a long time ago and swore never to take even one again, no matter how much I could benefit from it. I was on them for a couple of months because of a series of surgeries from cancer when I was 19 years old. I was so freaked by it that they put me on valium and before I knew it I was totally hooked on them. Never again! I don't think taking them occasionally would hurt, though. I wish you the best! Take care!
1 person likes this
6 Aug 10
Thanks, there's a lot of good information there. Stress definitely heightens the symptoms of OCD. Avoiding horror or suspense would be a difficult one as my partner and I both watch horror and thriller films together. I suppose it's about coping mechanisms and how to manage stressful situations as well as general physical and mental health. Thanks. I hope you're doing much better now.
• United States
7 Jul 08
I dont think there is anything you can do about it. And honestly meds are the answer either. I dont believe medication can help you really. I mean its there and will always be there. My daughters father fights a severe case of OCD. He tricks his mind sometimes to help. I cant really explain it but when hes really nervous it comes out more then usual. He just has to do weird things like touch things a certain way, go around things a certain way etc. Im afraid my 4 year old daughter has ocd as well. Do you think its genetic? She just does little things that I dont think a 4 year old would really care about. Actually she was 3 when she started it all. Anyways, he just sorta fights himself with what he does and it tends to help a little but he has it so bad its hard. I really wonder why he cant control himself. You would think that he could I mean it is his brain I just dont get it either.
1 person likes this
12 Jul 08
I wouldn't have thought it was genetic, but I couldn't say for sure. I suppose everyone has their own little O.C.D. tendencies, but it's worse in some people than others. Have any of the people you've known tried therapy for it?
@xandavon (102)
• Philippines
5 Aug 10
Yes, it is genetic. It is not however hereditary. Meaning you are born with it but you did not get it from your parents. But they say that kids with OCD parents has a high risk of being genetically OC. My father has OCD. At one point, he didn't leave the room for more than a month. He eats, and do his bladder business in the room.
6 Aug 10
Wow, that's really severe and sad. I'm sorry to hear that. I hope he's doing better now too.
• United States
22 Sep 10
I suffer from this as well and yes, medication is very important. But in addition to that, I learned a few things that help. If you give yourself a mantra, like, "It's okay, I can control this" and repeat it to yourself it helps you focus. Also, when you get really stressed or panicked, think about some really happy place and it keeps your mind off it.
1 person likes this
22 Sep 10
Distracting my mind from the issue helps me a lot. It focuses me on something else so I'm not feeling like a repetitive habit is essential anymore. Then when you remember it (if you do) you've already moved past the agitation.
• United States
22 Sep 10
Yeah I agree, distracting yourself really does help :-)
1 person likes this
@xandavon (102)
• Philippines
5 Aug 10
I would also like to add that if you decide to take meds, The earlier the better. OCD is one of those mental disorders that gets worse untreated. You would soon think of other things to put your attention on and then you would have a ton of things trashing your thoughts.
1 person likes this
• India
22 Sep 10
I have a problem of hygiene.I just wash my hand everytime i touch anything.But i only wash when I am gonna eat something and before sleep.Well washing hand before eating anything is a good habit I know but my problem is that i have repititive washing hands i feel in my mind that my hand is not clean and so i do it again.I take lot of time in bathroom washing hands, my mother ask me to stop it and that its too much. Can you suggest on this? And yes also when i go out in train or bus which is very crowded i have a bath immediately after i reach home or i cant feel good in my mind.And yes even bathing takes lot of time for me.Any suggestion on this one??
1 person likes this
22 Sep 10
I think you should do some research into your problem. Look online maybe for books or help groups that can support you and give you some answers. I don't know how easy it is to talk to a doctor about your symptoms.
@raydene (9874)
• United States
11 Jul 08
Hi Doll I do know that there is medication for it but I'm not famaliar with the side effects so can not tell you. I have a friend that would talk to herself to keep from doing somethings. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo
1 person likes this
@xandavon (102)
• Philippines
5 Aug 10
Possible side effects of anti-OCD medicines are weight gain. Some people feel sluggish but it goes away the more you take the medicine. Also, never quit ahead of what the doctor tells you. You may think your symptoms are gone and decide not to continue with the medicine. This is a bad idea. I heard a lot of patients come back because they were back right where they started. Also, you can't expect OCD to be gone for good. It may come back after a few years. But the good thing is you will know what to do then since you got over your first one.
1 person likes this
6 Aug 10
Do you think that once you have OCD, you'll have it for life and can't ever get rid of it, only learn to manage the symptoms better?
@samast (5)
• Australia
18 Oct 10
Hello, I am a new member and I was just searching for any content about OCD. I had it severe to extreme, but now it is so much better. I have heaps of things that you can read on my own web-site. I am creating my own site simply to reach out to others because I truly understand the torment and seriousness OCD. If you wish, please take a look at my site at http://www.soundmindaus.com I hope you find something useful. Sincere Regards, Paul Inglis, from Australia.
18 Oct 10
Wow, that's a really full resource. It's great that you've taken the time to create a site like that. Thank you for posting the link here.