When worry gets to an extreme level, it can become so intense that the same thought repeats over and over again.  People who suffer from OCD are typically terrified that some harm will come to them or to those who they love.  We all have those thoughts to some degree, but people with OCD lock into the worry and can’t let it go.  The things they are worried about feel so real that they must do something about it.

The stereotypical manifestation of OCD is in the person who leaves their house and believes they left the stove on.  They go back to check the stove, see that it has not been left on, and leaves their house again, only to feel like the stove has been left on again.  Someone who is suffering like this can go through the ritual over and over again before they convince themselves that the stove has, in fact, been turned off.  In a sense, someone with OCD can become “addicted” to the action, or compulsion, that seems to make him or her feel less anxious (like checking the stove over and over).

Some other fears that people can have are the fear of contracting a terminal illness, of being contaminated by germs, or poisoned by chemicals.  These are fears of threats to their health, but there are other ways that OCD can show up as well. There can be an obsession with pictures being perfectly level, or objects lining up properly.  There can be sexual or aggressive thoughts that are obsessive (but are never acted on), or thoughts that one is gay (when there are no other indications of such).  The worries one can have with OCD can be bizarre, and make no sense even to the worrier.  A loving mother worries, “I’m going to harm my baby.”  Or there can be a feeling that “something bad is going to happen,” but no real sense of what that is.

An event or a memory or an emotional trigger may initially trigger OCD. Over time, however, it tends to worsen.  The obsessive thoughts, and the compulsive behavior that comes with them, tend to get “hard wired” into the brain. The more someone has this experience, the more likely it is to happen again.  When a person tries to resist the compulsion, she will feel the tension mounting inside.  If she acts on it, she gets some relief, but this makes it more likely for the cycle to happen again.

Because OCD is basically a malfunction in the wiring of the brain, treatment involves rewiring the brain so it works properly again.  Studies in brain plasticity have shown that the brain has the power to grow and change no matter what age or stage of life you are at.  To help you overcome OCD I will take you through a number of steps where you will learn to refocus your mind from worrying thoughts to pleasurable ones.  As you do so, you will grow new neural circuits that will eventually overcome and replace the worrying ones.

Ben Kotler Counsellor

Ben Kotler, MA, RCC

Victoria Address: 1517 Amelia St, Victoria, BC V8W 2J9
Duncan Address: 111 Station Street, Suite 202, Duncan, BC V9L 1M8
Ph: 250-634-1634 ( iPhone Texting Available )
Fax: 1-888-684-6922
Email: info@feelchange.ca