Does OCD Change Who You Are?

Managing OCD So You Don’t Lose Your Essence

For many people struggling with OCD, this mental health disorder is crippling beyond belief. When OCD is severe, the intrusive thoughts know no boundaries. They pervade every waking moment, creating a miasma of unhealthy thought processes, fixations, and obsessions.

Such is the power of obsessive-compulsive disorder in a heightened state, that the attendant compulsions (behaviors) are equally troublesome. In an attempt to alleviate all the unwanted thoughts, the individual performs a set of bizarre routines, knowing that there is no rationale behind them. This mentally crippling condition retards performance and diminishes productivity.

OCD issues
OCD issues

The essence of a person is not affected by OCD, but anything else is fair game. Your essence describes your nature. Virtuous, ambitious, humble, aspiring, critical, loathing, mindful, vexatious, perspicacious, or empathetic. A person’s core essence is something that is intrinsically yours, innately you. In other words, whatever makes you, you. Some teachers describe the manner in which essence manifests through a person’s unique style. There are people who aspire towards greatness, those who are creative, others who love to explore, others who seek clarity, and others who value kindness.

What Does OCD Change in your Life?

Unfortunately, many people with OCD have a severe form of mental health disorder. This condition can bring tremendous stress to bear on many aspects of your life, notably:

  • The overall quality of your life can be upended by OCD
  • Productivity, performance, and punctuality can be affected by OCD
  • Interpersonal relationships with employers, friends, family, and significant others are strained.
  • Severe OCD can derail your academic prowess by distracting you from your studies

The problem with obsessions and compulsions is that they become overbearing. The obsessions fill your head with irrational thoughts and ideas. The compulsions are time-consuming, illogical, repetitive behaviors that people with OCD perform to quell the compulsions.

The hallmarks of obsession include an unnatural fear of contamination, high levels of anxiety when anything is out of place, or pervasive thoughts of being rude or obscene towards others. Naturally, there are many other obsessions such as intense thoughts about hurting yourself or other people, sexual distress when you think about unpleasant images, or outright avoidance of specific situations.

The compulsions are always related to obsessions. The sad reality is that compulsions only bring about temporary relief from the anxiety generated by obsessive thoughts. A person who is obsessed with cleanliness and hygiene may wash their hands and feet raw. The person who is obsessing over safety and security will lock and unlock, check and re-check windows, doors, alarms, et cetera. If your obsession is related to unnatural fears of fire, you will likely obsess over the stove, microwave, kettle, toaster, hairdryer, straight iron, washers and dryers, lamps, and other plugged-in devices.

At this juncture, it’s worth pointing out that it is normal to check that electronic appliances are turned off when not in use. The OCD part – the unrelenting fear and anxiety, and the persistent compulsions which follow are not normal. If any of this sounds like it might be disruptive to your life, it is. There is no doubt that OCD will throw your day-to-day life into a tailspin. Without a tried and trusted, proven remedy, it’s going to be difficult to manage OCD and all other responsibilities.

What Types of Remedial Actions are Available for OCD

There are many different types of treatments available for OCD. Common OCD treatments include medication and therapy. The medication is usually a combination of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), selective), selective norepinephrine reuptake inheritors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants, et al. The psychopharmacology approach to treating OCD is often the first line of defense taken by medical practitioners such family physicians and psychiatrists.

Commonly prescribed medicines include Zoloft and Prozac, but there are many others that may be equally efficacious. The problem with taking medication is the side effects. There are always attendant risks when introducing chemical substances into your body. In the event of adverse side effects, it is important to report them to your physician, and possibly change dosage, or medication entirely. While medications can certainly work, there are always concerns about side effects.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) involves a licensed mental health counselor or psychologist. By talking through your problems with a trained professional, it is possible to target the unnatural thoughts, fears, and phobias and the way you respond to them. CBT is usually prescribed as a treatment regimen alongside medication. When treating through talk therapy, exposure and response therapy (ERP) is often introduced to overcome the maladies associated with OCD.

A relatively new approach to OCD treatment which is nonsurgical, and non-medicinal is Deep TMS™. This form of treatment is the first for any TMS system to have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a highly effective way to treat problematic neural connections in troubled sections of the brain. Deep TMS is capable of reaching brain structures associated with mental health conditions. Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation uses a specialized helmet with magnetic fields to target these problem areas in the brain.

With Deep TMS, there is no pain, no incisions, no anesthesia, and no risk of infection. All treatment options for OCD are on the board when severe forms of mental health disorder present. Deep TMS is rapidly winning favor with a growing user base all over the world. It requires 20-minute sessions of transcranial magnetic stimulation, multiple times a week, for several months. The results certainly look promising for a majority of patients Deep TMS is covered by several major insurance policies and continues to expand on coverage.

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