Have you ever watched the “friends” series? If yes, the hyper-active, strict, over-the-top cleanliness freak Monica Geller will bring a smile to your face. Remember where Monica cleans the household vacuum with another small vacuum and still, she wants that small vacuum to be cleaned by another.
The way she maintains her kitchen and wants orderliness in everything makes our stomach pain with all the laughter Even though it is funny, these are symptoms of the starting phase of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD).
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.
Why Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessions are repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety and make you behave irresistibly.
Obsessions lead to compulsions which are the main triggers for the way you behave.
Say, your friend has a habit of washing hands repeatedly. And if he doesn’t wash his hands then he gets anxious
Here, the obsession is “fear of germ or contamination” while the compulsion is “excessive sanitization.”
In simple words, obsession is a repetitive thought leading to a compulsion for repetitive behavior. If you are a person who double-checks a certain activity multiple times then you are prone to be obsessed with something that triggers you to check on the activity.
Difference between normal behavior and obsessing behavior
For example, you lock the doors of your house. You don’t trust yourself and hence come back to check again whether the doors are properly locked.
What if In case you reach your office and then still think that the doors aren’t properly locked, will you travel back and check?
A normal person may call the neighbor and ask them to check but a person having OCD, will leave work and go check if the doors are locked properly.
If you tend to check twice or multiple times daily, it is normal. What happens is your mind is getting accustomed to a habit of checking multiple times to believe you have locked the doors properly.
But when you leave your work and travel back to check the doors, your normal behavior becomes abnormal. And when you do it often, OCD pops up.
Causes of OCD
OCD occurs in about 1 to 3 percent of people in the total population level, irrespective of gender and age but do you know the causes of it?
Stress or anxiety issues:
Nowadays stress has become a common factor in teens, young and adult categories. This is due to work pressure, the emotional and physical tension which has increased drastically. Some people tend to express stress by biting nails, having many cups of coffee, uttering repetitive words, and many others,
These become problematic when the nails are bitten till the skin peels off or the person cant work without caffeine.
Problems in working or living environment
A sudden change in your living environment can also lead to OCD problems. Say, when a person moves from a high status to low status in society due to certain problems. This may trigger you to act in a certain way creating obsessions and compulsions.
The person might keep the house freakingly clean or dress in a posh way which gives them external satisfaction but internally they haven’t accepted their current status.
Death of a loved one or suffering from emotional trauma
When you have lost your loved ones, you may act like they still exist. Unaware of this, you get into a repetitive loop of relishing their memories and behaving in the same manner as it was before. You would tend to wash and clean their clothes daily or repeat a certain behavior that is not required now but you still follow it.
Severe illness recovery
After recovering from a severe illness, you would act in a different way like being cautious about cleaning and sanitizing, the fear of germs or contamination will become your obsession.
Types of OCD
OCD can occur in various forms/behavior. Let’s find out if you fall in any of the below categories of OCD
Your friend borrows your wired mouse to operate his laptop. Now before you use the same mouse, you start wondering if the mouse is dirty and you fear that you will become contaminated or you will contaminate others which may lead to the repetitive behavior of washing your own hands or cleaning the used objects.
A need to arrange and rearrange your organized closet to feel the satisfactory effect of keeping things in their place is an example of symmetry OCD.
Remember Monica not willing to accept the position of ottoman placed by Rachel. And convincing how it looked better in its original position. That’s OCD!
You have a habit of collecting items of less/of no value like magazines, notes, and empty containers, and eventually, your home becomes cluttered.
The obsession here is you don’t throw waste things into the dustbin, instead, you feel satisfied when you collect them. This is a glimpse of hoarding OCD.
This is an extreme level of OCD where nothing would have happened but you imagine that you have harmed some person and to nullify such effect you go and check upon such person/place where you would have harmed. The other way around is also possible where you harm yourself by biting your nails and feel relieved when it bleeds.
OCD And Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, OCD is a condition in which the doshas, especially the Vata is aggravated. In mano dosha, it increases the rajas-tamas concentration. In simple words, it is an anxiety disorder affecting the mana (heart) and buddhi (intellect).
It is one of the psychiatric diseases that is caused due to emotional distress which is related in Ayurveda as the perception of anithya (non-existence) as nitya(existence) and recognition of ahita (unwholesomeness) as hita (wholesomeness). Hence depending on the level of doshas in your body, OCD symptoms get triggered.
OCD does not have a cure. But the severity can be suppressed by treatments so that you can lead a normal, healthy life. Treatments vary according to the type.
Generally, treatments are given by medications, which have a lot of side effects. In Ayurveda, the approach to the treatment of OCD is completely natural. That includes
- Yoga and meditation
- Going for therapy (shodhanam and shamanam)
Practicing Yoga and meditation can make you improve your mental strength and also make you conscious of your activities and behavior.
You become aware of symptoms of OCD in your routine even before you can change them.
Opting for counseling on a short-term basis can help you solve a particular issue or behavior with which you are suffering. It can help you to get a solution based on the particular symptom of OCD you are enduring.
Going for therapy on a long-term basis can solve your phase of stress and depression. It can make you overcome OCD issues by involving personalized conversations and also down the lane you can ensure normal behavior. This treatment is recommended if you are in the mid or extreme phase of OCD.
You can overcome OCD
Usually, when we fall into a loop, getting out from it requires conscious thinking and action. OCD is one such negative loop of triggers and behaviors.
To chase away OCD, the first step is to recognize that you have OCD and find its level. Some people deny accepting that they have OCD. But being aware of your behavior is very much important.
Having OCD? Not to worry, we can live right. We can help you battle OCD.