OCD - How Obsessions Can Interfere with Your Happiness!

 By: Bertil Hjert
We've probably all joked that someone we know might be too organized, too neat, and too orderly. While these characteristics are certainly good in small doses, when taking to the extreme, they can actually be quite disruptive.

If you spend all your time cleaning and not enough time interacting with others and having some fun, you might find yourself depressed and lonely, a condition that many OCD sufferers find themselves dealing with.

The driving force behind this anxiety disorder is the obsessive thoughts that disrupt a person's peace of mind. These obsessive thoughts can vary in nature. Some people tend to focus on worrying about whether they forgot to turn the lights off, the stove off or left the water running. Other people worry about unlocked doors and windows. People with these obsessions, spend endless hours, checking and rechecking things to ensure that everything is as it should be.

Other people may struggle with violent imagery, worries about harm befalling themselves or loved ones. Some people even worry about doing harm to others and can't shake the thoughts of causing other people harm. These disturbing thoughts and images leave anxiety sufferers dealing with OCD at loose ends.

They don't know how to deal with the endless worry. The answer often becomes compulsions. Checking doors and windows every half hour during the night, retracing their route in the car several times to make sure they didn't hit anyone. These behaviors leave people exhausted, unhappy and unable to complete the responsibilities of their daily lives.

Obsessions can occur alone or be accompanied by compulsions. As many as 25% of OCD sufferers, simply struggle with obsessions and have no corresponding compulsions. This condition leaves people panicked, worried and fearful. It is often accompanied by mild to severe depression and can severely hamper one's daily interactions and responsibilities. It is a serious condition but also one that can be addressed.

Medications such as Prozac and Zoloft have provided relief to many sufferers but you can also find relief through exposure therapy. By exposing yourself to the situations that arouse your obsessive thoughts and then preventing yourself from engaging in compulsive behavior you will help train your body and mind that your worst fears will not necessarily become reality if you don't perform your compulsions.

Most people suffering from this condition understand that their anxiety is irrational and exaggerated and that their fears, while they may be possible, they are not probable. Understanding that doesn't necessarily provide relief until your train your mind and body that there is no connection between the compulsive behaviors and preventing your obsessive thoughts from occurring. A lot of this involves positive thought redirection, which is focusing your thoughts on what is real, not what is imagined.

For example, if you retrace your route in your car three times to make sure you haven't struck anyone on your way to work. Stop! Think about this rationally, you would have seen something, heard something or felt something, if you had struck a person.

If you have to, pull over and examine your car for any dents or damage. If you struck someone, your car wouldn't still look pristine. Do what you have must to keep the obsessive thoughts at bay, but don't perform the compulsion, retracing your route.
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