Many Singaporeans suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is unhealthy and irrational to the point that it can affect how we live our lives. It is important that we know something about OCD so we can understand those who are suffering from one.
Obsessions are different from compulsions. Obsessions are uncontrollable and involuntary thoughts and impulses that happen repeatedly in our mind. We do not want these ideas but we cannot stop them. Compulsions on the other hand are actions that drive us to act it (obsessions) over and over again.
We have to know that there are at least five known categories of OCD to include hoarders, counters and arrangers, washers, doubters and sinners and checkers. The better news is that there are four steps in conquering OCD. The steps are provided by Jeffrey Schwartz, a psychiatrist. He offers the following steps in handling OCD:
- Relabel: Recognize and accept that obsessive urges and thoughts are the result of OCD. We can begin by training ourselves to say “I do not see or feel that my hands are dirty” or “I do not feel the need to wash my hands because they are not dirty”.
- Reattribute: Realize that the urges and thoughts are caused by OCD; it is related to an imbalance in the brain. Always remind ourselves that it is not us but the OCD sending false messages from the brain.
- Refocus: Refocusing your thoughts and attention unto something is challenging but it is worth the while. When we experience OCD, we have to focus our attention to something else. The important thing is recognizing that we have to do another task or behaviour when OCD strikes.
- Revalue: We know that OCD exists but we do not need to value it or make it significant. When it strikes, either we revalue it (saying “it has no meaning”) or we proceed to the next task or behaviour.
If things are difficult, we can get the help of experts. We should get the help we need.