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Information and advice on OCD


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Hi folks I’m looking for information and advice on OCD. I suspect I may have OCD but haven’t been diagnosed. I’m currently speaking with a psychologist who thinks my problems are low confidence and anxiety. I haven’t responded well to treatment and worried my sessions may end leaving me back at square one. I have some questions and would really appreciate any advice you can offer.

 

How do you determine if it is or isn’t OCD?

I have intrusive thoughts mainly fears of being a peadophile or harming people particularly babies.

 

Can forms of CBT make OCD worse?

 

How far should I pursue a diagnosis?

As far as I’m aware depression and anxiety can be cured but OCD can only be managed. I do doubt I have OCD aswell and not sure what action to take which will benefit me in the long run.

 

How to determine an obsession?

As far as I’m aware an obsession gets stuck in your head for a lengthy period of time. Can they be classed as an obsession if they don’t stick but repeatedly reappear as I normally react by repeating a name in my head multiple times amongst other things which clears the thought.

 

Could any of you advise on how to take the initial leap of faith as I’m worried that my thoughts will come true if I don’t react to them or I’m accepting I want bad things to happen.

Thanks for reading really appreciate it.

 

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7 hours ago, Steven20 said:

How do you determine if it is or isn’t OCD?

If you get regular or repeated unwanted thoughts that cause distress and you do compulsions to try to relieve that distress then it's OCD.

Thoughts can be on any topic under the sun. What they are about is irrelevant to whether it's OCD or not.

Common cmpulsions are avoidance, ruminating, neutralising, analysing, denial and performing physical or mental rituals.

 

7 hours ago, Steven20 said:

 Can forms of CBT make OCD worse?

Happily no! :) CBT is possibly the safest therapy (treatment) in the world.

However, doing CBT correctly requires you to challenge your thinking and beliefs. This is designed to push you out of your comfort zone and in the short term (unsurprisingly) it can cause some mental discomfort. It doesn't make you worse than you were before.

Sometimes people think they're worse after a session of CBT, but if you continue with the exercises you're given and see them through to the end without giving up the initial discomfort you felt resolves and you ultimately feel a lot better.

7 hours ago, Steven20 said:

How far should I pursue a diagnosis?

As far as I’m aware depression and anxiety can be cured but OCD can only be managed. I do doubt I have OCD aswell and not sure what action to take which will benefit me in the long run.

Depends on your definition of cured. I believe OCD is equally as 'curable' as depression and anxiety. But it takes determination and guts to overcome OCD and that's where most people who are living with or 'managing it' fall short.

You pursue a diagnosis as far as it's useful to you to have it. If your therapist is able to give you appropriate CBT without a formal diagnosis, and you don't fall into one of the categories who need to declare their OCD to their employer or to the DVL,  then a formal diagnosis may not be needed at all.

7 hours ago, Steven20 said:

How to determine an obsession?

As far as I’m aware an obsession gets stuck in your head for a lengthy period of time. Can they be classed as an obsession if they don’t stick but repeatedly reappear as I normally react by repeating a name in my head multiple times amongst other things which clears the thought.

Reapeatedly reappearing is the same thing as 'sticking around' for a long time. The semantics of whether it's permanently there or comes and goers is irrelevant.

Repeating things in your head to clear the thought is a mental ritual (neutralising compulsion.)

7 hours ago, Steven20 said:

Could any of you advise on how to take the initial leap of faith as I’m worried that my thoughts will come true if I don’t react to them or I’m accepting I want bad things to happen.

You decide you want to be free of the suffering OCD causes and trust the advice of your therapist/ those who've been through it. 

Thoughts don't come true because you don't react to them. Neither does not reacting mean anything (such as 'that you want bad things to happen'.)

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Hi snowbear thanks a lot for taking time to give me advice. I was hoping for a diagnosis in order to explain what was happening and to know that the dark thoughts and feelings I have are not my true nature. It would help explain things to other people aswell as I haven’t told my family about what I’m going through and I can imagine they would react badly especially if I confess I’ve had horrible thoughts about my niece. I don’t even know how I would get a diagnosis as I’ve  been to my GP 3 times over the years everyone I’ve spoken to has dismissed OCD and haven’t giving me an explanation for what’s going on. I think knowing what I’m up against would help although I do doubt it’s OCD aswell which worries me.

 

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OCD is the doubting disease. Scads of sufferers doubt they have OCD. Often they analyze their thoughts and feel OCD doesn't explain how awful the thoughts are. This usually comes from a misguided brluef of what OCD is.

OCD really is that bad. It's awful. Sometimes the thoughts would make the devil blush. No other explanation needs to be arrived at.

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9 hours ago, Steven20 said:

I was hoping for a diagnosis in order to explain what was happening and to know that the dark thoughts and feelings I have are not my true nature.

You already know the dark thoughts and feelings you get aren't your true nature. If they were then having them would bring you pleasure, not cause you distress.

That's what makes it OCD and not genuine attraction to the darkness.

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Would it be wise to assume it’s OCD without a diagnosis?

I hear people say all the time I’m OCD about this or that and I think claiming to have it myself would be offensive to anyone who actually has OCD. I have other issues like low confidence, poor memory and socialising. I spoke to my therapist about seeking a diagnosis and I was told it’s difficult to get one. I’m not sure what to do as I think I’m looking for something else to blame or a label, The important thing should be dealing with the thoughts but I keep thinking about the why and what’s causing it.

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Posted (edited)

A diagnosis can provide assurance that you are experiencing OCD rather than going completely mad. For example, when my checking was at its worse I would check that something was off by staring at an object for rather a long time. This was nicely portrayed in the film Sixty Six where one of the characters while checking that a gas fire was off would stare at the fire. This was also an example of checking in the self help OCD therapy book called Overcoming OCD. Reading recommended self help books can help you identify behavioural traits that are common in those with OCD.

You don’t state the country where you live. So it is impossible to comment on your therapist’s comment about whether it is difficult to get a diagnosis. I would say that in the U.K. it is not that difficult. And in England you can self refer under the improving access to psychological treatment route.

Edited by Angst
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Hi Angst I live in Scotland,I’ve sought out help on a few occasions and everyone I have spoken to has dismissed OCD. I spoke to a psychiatrist last year who told me I may have a little bit of social anxiety even though I told her I was having suicidal thoughts and although I had no intend of doing it, it still seemed like a logical option and she never detected a little bit of depression. I mentioned about having thoughts and urges about harming people and I was told I haven’t done it before it’s my responsibility to control my actions.

 

I’ve had a look at the YBOCS screening that Andy recommended and I don’t know if I’m an idiot or just being awkward but I struggled with it. I found it hard to rate things such as how much of your time is occupied by obsessions. I have no idea as if I’m occupied I can be fine but if I’m watching tv I can be triggered or talking to someone or doing a simple task. Usually any intrusive thought that comes in is instantly dealt with by repeating words in my head or other behaviours. I’m also not too sure what would count as an obsession as for example if I see the number thirteen I will actively seek out the number 20. In the past I would have to do this to prevent something bad happening but currently on the main I do it out of habit. I don’t get as much anxiety or dread it’s more an inconvenience. Would I class this as an obsession although its not impacting on my daily functioning. My main issues are dealing with people, I get paranoid that people don’t like me or find me boring and can lose interest or zone out at times. I will often avoid situations such as spending time with my niece incase I get intrusive thoughts. Sometimes an intrusive thought can feel real but most of the time it’s just incase or is it worth the risk and can do behaviours because it feels I should even without an intrusive thought being there. My mind seems to be in sabotage mode most of the time I’m positive there is an issue but I don’t know what it is and what is actually affecting my daily functioning.

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If I were in your position I would think of a way to get a second opinion. Were you referred to the psychiatrist by your GP? If so, then you could request a second opinion.  GPs or psychiatrists can be in a gatekeeper role determining who has access to further tests or treatment. If you have cash or medical insurance then the private sector route might be an option. I would talk over the issue with an advocate or mental health charity. 

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