Because OCD tends to attach fear and anxiety to a specific behavior, sometimes it is possible to identify when the attacks first begin. Other certain other disorders, the trigger for a person’s OCD is generally obvious; a particular action or pattern of behavior suddenly has anxiety associated with a specific ritual, and failure to comply can have disastrous results. This could be thought of as a telltale sign of OCD or another disorder if such negative thoughts tend to hang around or recur, given that normal people may have these thoughts on occasion, but be able to move past them.
The role of anxiety comes up again and again, as does the magnitude. While many people experience anxiety every day, OCD goes beyond that. People with OCD aren’t simply anxious about speaking in public, or standing up for themselves, or locking up at night to feel secure. Most of these things can make people uncomfortable, but they can manage to push through. For OCD victims, the triggers can derail their thoughts and take over their behaviors throughout the day. When it comes to stress, a person with OCD isn’t just bothered or inconvenienced by it- they are all but crippled.
While OCD is definitely life-changing, there are things that can help. Medical resources include antidepressants, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). For example, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy known as exposure and response prevention (ERP) can be very helpful. By seeking to introduce OCD triggers and prevent the ritual responses, ERP serves to weaken, and even eliminate the bond between the fear and the ritual fabricated to ‘cure’ it. Otherwise, strong social support from friends and family can play a role in helping people with OCD feel better about themselves, and give their all to treatment sessions.Related: 8 Frightening Symptoms of Stress That Affect Our Brains
Again, OCD is nothing to make light of. It makes life difficult for the person who has it, interfering with education, jobs, and even social and romantic relationships. The rituals and thoughts can make it difficult to function, and it’s easy to brush such things off from an outside perspective. Fortunately, however, OCD is receiving more and more attention, and as a result, there are treatments that can make living with OCD easier, if not resolving it entirely. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of OCD, seek a professional evaluation immediately, and make your life yours again.