OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Do you have problems sleeping because you are thinking too much or having racing thoughts all night long? Do you find you are always thinking or planning and you have problems just chilling out and relaxing? Do your racing thoughts keep you in a stressful state of high anxiety? Do you feel you can never shut off your thoughts?
In our hectic, fast paced life style of multi-tasking, we are forced to have a very active mind. With the stress of everyday living, it has become more difficult to chill out or relax. However, if your mind cannot stop without using medication, drugs, or alcohol, you probably are living with OCD.
In Psychology Today, where Dr. Diane® is a blogger, “The Resilient Mind” describes Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions). Often, the person carries out these behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief. Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety. A person’s level of OCD can be anywhere from mild to severe, but if severe and left untreated, it can destroy a person’s capacity to function at work, school, or even to lead a comfortable existence in the home.
OCD affects about 2.2 million American adults, and the problem can be accompanied by eating disorders, other anxiety disorders, or depression. It strikes men and women in roughly equal numbers and usually appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. One-third of adults with OCD develop symptoms as children, and research indicates that OCD might run in families.
Although OCD symptoms typically begin during the teen years or early adulthood, research shows that some children may even develop the illness during preschool. Studies indicate that at least one-third of cases of adult OCD began in childhood.
Suffering from OCD during the early stages of a child’s development can cause severe problems for the child. It is important that the child receives evaluation and treatment as soon as possible to prevent the child from missing important opportunities because of this disorder.
If you have had a brain injury, which causes a dysregulation of the brain’s electrical system, the symptoms of OCD are heightened because the frontal lobe that controls thoughts is short circuited. Thus, the symptoms of sleep disturbances, such as the inability to fall asleep or waking up during the night and having terrifying thoughts or panic attacks, are more common after a brain injury.
The compulsive behavior is also heightened due to the lack of memory caused from a brain injury. Prior to a brain injury, you may have checked the door two times to see if it was locked, now after having a brain injury you might check the door four or six times.
The trauma of your brain injury, especially from an assault or domestic violence, is seen as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, if you had OCD prior to the traumatic event, you may have difficulty working through the trauma in a therapeutic setting. You may feel the need to act out or talk at great length without ever any resolution. Thus, you would believe that there isn’t any help or hope of recovery.
This is often true, because when a person comes in with chronic pain or symptoms of a brain injury, such as a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), concussion, stroke, MS, Parkinson Disease, or sleep disorder, the symptoms of any of these are addressed first. However, the reality is that if you have a prior history of OCD or if you are unaware that your racing thoughts are symptoms of OCD, this needs to be addressed so that all of your symptoms can be helped effectively.
A history is also taken to see if the type of pain being experienced existed prior to the current injury or Brain Injury, such as a Concussion or Stroke. If so, the Concussion may have caused the pre-existing pain to increase. A review of medical records is needed to pinpoint what caused the pain before and what methods were helpful in its relief.
Through our 5 Prong Approach, our team of brain experts can assess the degree your OCD is affecting your symptoms of chronic pain, brain injury, or PTSD and design the Cognitive Coping Strategies and the Multidimensional approach to provide the most suitable treatment to help you manage, cope, and overcome your OCD.