An Obsessive compulsive Disorder (OCD) Intervention may be the Answer for Someone You Love
An obsessive compulsive disorder intervention may not be necessary. It could be that everyone has had an obsession with something or other in the course of their lifetime. Some are obsessed with texting. Some are obsessed with animals. Some may be obsessed with cars, a sports team or collecting anything butterfly. These types of obsessions can be normal hobbies and are absolutely harmless.
And perhaps we have all experienced a compulsion to do something — buy a lottery ticket when we feel lucky; stop at garage sales on Friday mornings; eat the frosting last on a piece of cake…
But when the pursuit or participation in something becomes irrational, interferes with normal living, or becomes so pervasive that it creates anxiety and prevents happiness or relaxation, these behaviors may have crossed the line into a mental health condition known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Those who suffer from this disorder may feel powerless to stop the repetitive urges to do a certain behavior, even when he knows he is being irrational. The unwanted thoughts and behaviors seem to have a mind of their own, independent of the originator, taking him hostage and enslaving him against his will. It’s as if the brain gets stuck in a certain pattern, sending commands to do something over and over that can’t be stopped. Not only is this disorder debilitating to those who suffer from it, it may be severely trying for family members and loved ones helplessly watching the spiraling out of control. There comes a point when this particularly difficult situation can’t continue, but how does one stop it? Out of options, it may be time to start thinking about an Obsessive compulsive disorder intervention to bring some normalcy back to the household and release your loved one from his suffering.
Common Types of OCD Behaviors
Often those suffering from OCD fall into some common patterns. Included are:
- Washers: may have obsession with cleanliness or contamination; may wash hands or surfaces repeatedly
- Checkers: may worry about leaving something on or behind; checks over and over before being able to go anywhere
- Excessive Worriers: may use tapping, rechecking something, counting or repeating some word over and over to ward off the unforeseen and irrational danger
- Arrangers: have to position objects “just so” over and over in a symmetrical or certain pattern to dispel discomfort
- Hoarders: compulsively collects or hangs on to everything to quell feelings of loss, sometimes to the point of making their home unsafe or unlivable
While this disorder can take other forms, these are pretty common. Children and adults both may be vulnerable to the condition, and some speculate that there may be a genetic predisposition involved. Other factors may include head injury, infection or damage to certain parts of the brain. While most have both the obsessions and compulsions, some may have only one or the other. Onset usually happens in adolescence, but not always. In children, these behaviors may also be signs of ADD, autism or Tourette’s syndrome, so a diagnosis by a professional is always the best place to start. Even in adults, a thorough mental health evaluation should be included in any treatment plan to rule out a physiological or other co-occurring mental health condition. A professional OCD interventionist or family recovery coach is trained to place your loved one in the hands of those who deal with this type of disorder for evaluation and necessary treatment.
A Professional OCD Intervention may Restore Quality of Life
OCD affects one in 100 adults or one in 200 children, according to the International OCD Foundation. And according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, OCD is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Without enough of the chemicals that allow a particular brain signal to shut off once once a specific behavior has been done, the messages are either lost or repeated over and over. The behaviors you witness may be all consuming for your loved one, yet, he may resist getting help. Irrational fears are at the root of this disorder to begin with, so often no amount of coaxing has any effect. Treatment involves therapy (sometimes family, group and individual) and medication, once a proper diagnosis has been made. Since shame and embarrassment may compound the stress experienced by the OCD sufferer, he may be fragile and need to be confronted in a gentle way. Willpower has proven ineffective, so expecting your loved one to go this alone may be futile at best, counter-productive at worst. Looking the other way may be impossible if your loved one’s home is uninhabitable, her hands are raw from constant washing, or his ability to earn a living is impaired due to ritualized behaviors that prevent leaving home to go to work. One trained in the field of interventions will know how to structure a confrontation so that the message is delivered in the kindest, most effective way.
When to Schedule an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Intervention
There are some strategies to try to help your loved one that may work. Exercise is a good start, along with diet and avoiding self-medicating with mood altering chemicals. Other ways to challenge the disorder include:
- Refocus during compulsions: read, surf the web, call a friend, start a project or whatever
- Anticipate Urges: check extra carefully those things that you obsess about, such as noting beforehand that the door is truly locked
- Write down or create a “worry” period: pick a set amount of time to obsess, then do it and try to let go afterward. Write down or tape your obsessions, then listen until the obsession loses some of it’s “power”
- Practice Relaxation techniques: stress often triggers compulsions. Try yoga or meditation
- Get enough Rest: again, this lessens triggering stress-relief behaviors
- Find Support: Check on OCD support groups that may be available
These techniques may provide some relief, but most often professional help is the only solution to stop these unwelcome thoughts and compulsions. Still, if your loved one balks at the idea you may be forced to take action by calling on the help of those trained to intervene. A professional Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Intervention can start the healing process by educating you and your loved one about the nature of his malady, while providing a forum for you to express how your loved one’s condition affects your life as well as his. A trained approach is crucial with mental health issues, and once your loved one is engaged in the appropriate treatment for his condition, everyone may rest easier. There is hope for you and your loved one.