“Helping You Feel Better”
Toronto OCD Psychotherapist
As a attentive Toronto OCD Psychotherapist I would like to disseminate some valuable information. OCD usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood. The diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) describes a chronic anxiety disorder characterized by symptoms of recurrent intrusive thoughts and impulses typically referred to as obsessions, and rituals, acts often secret, referred to as compulsions aimed at reducing anxiety.
OCD causes feelings of extreme panic, fear, and guilt, and compels the sufferer to perform certain actions. When left untreated, OCD can reach frightening levels, impacting on a person’s relationships, home life, and career. If you are suffering from OCD, it is important to know that you are not alone. You may be obsessed with cleaning and order. Performing rituals, however, provides only temporary relief. Not performing them can cause significant anxiety or distress and can interfere with an individual’s normal routine, academic functioning, work, social activities, or relationships.
Psychotherapy focuses on changing thought patterns by altering behaviours. Psychotherapy attempts to stop the emotions associated with the thoughts one has when suffering from OCD.
Obsessions may include washing, checking, repeating, counting, order, contamination fears,
hoarding, superstitious and religious obsessions. Intrusive thoughts disturb an individual’s thinking pattern and can become a preoccupation. People have intrusive thoughts, but most people will let the thought go rather than focusing on it. The most common obsessions concern thoughts about contamination (washing and cleaning), pathological doubt (did I shut the stove off, lock door), and order/symmetry. Obsessions and compulsions in OCD cause marked distress, are time consuming, and seriously interfere with daily functioning.
OCD can be also associated with other anxiety disorders such as panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia), depression, specific phobia, social phobia, PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorder. One may have excessive worry and difficulty controlling worry. One may also have body dysmorphic disorder, hypochondriasis (health anxiety), eating disorders, and some impulse control disorders. OCD can interfere with one’s quality of life.
Good health has an enormous positive impact on our mood, which in turn can play a significant role in helping reduce the anxiety caused by OCD. Eating a good healthy balanced diet, regular exercise not excessive and keeping regular sleep patterns is important in reducing symptomatology.
Toronto OCD Psychotherapy
If you suffer with OCD you may exaggerate the importance of danger associated with your thoughts. Individuals often dramatically overemphasize the degree to which they may be responsible for a catastrophic event and take action to prevent it. These behaviours falsely make someone feel safe. This is what we refer to as magical thinking. It is what children do to feel less helpless.
You will learn to trust yourself again instead of engaging in repetitive checking rituals that reinforce the idea that “I cannot trust myself”. You will discover how to expose yourself to the fear or anxiety producing stimulus and eventually not feel compelled to complete the compulsive behaviour. Over time, your irrational thinking about the stimulus will subside. You will confidently face the stimulus without feeling as if something horrible will happen if you do not complete your specific compulsion.
Our work together would include examining harmful thought patterns and replacing them with less threatening thought patterns. You must analyze the relationship of the compulsion to environmental events and the factors that increase or decrease the compulsion. You must understand what it is that you wish to avoid and expose yourself to.
Training yourself to relax is also of utmost importance in learning to cope with anxiety provoking stimuli. Various relaxation techniques are discussed during therapy. Many people can take the skills they learn and use them in the future to successfully keep obsessive thoughts and compulsions away.