OCD is not just about hand washing, despite the picture. It's defined as an anxiety disorder and around 2-3% of the population suffer from some kind of OCD behaviour. OCD is normally thought of as an adult condition, but it can affect children as well. So can hypnotherapy help?
OCD has two components. Obsessions are repetitive, unwanted, negative thoughts which intrude on your thinking. Compulsions are the urges to carry out specific acts or rituals in an attempt to quiet or remove those thoughts.
Obsessions are often around issues which genuinely concern safety or health. For example, most of us wash our hands after going to the toilet or before preparing food. Or we check that the door is locked before leaving for work.
But if you have OCD, the anxiety about germs or home invasion can become so overwhelming that you have to develop some kind of soothing behaviour to reduce it. The most common behaviours which develop in this way are cleaning, hand-washing and checking but counting, measuring, touching and other repetitive behaviours can also be a part of it. Most people with OCD realise that there isn't much logic to their behaviour, but feel too anxious to stop.
The problem is that compulsive behaviour only offers a limited amount of relief from the huge amounts of anxiety and panic that the obsessive ideas have created. In time, the soothing behaviours get more extreme or have to be repeated more and more frequently.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can show itself in response to a large number of different anxieties. For example, feeling unsafe can result in repeated checking of electrical devices or locks, illness can lead to excessive hand washing or cleaning, and feeling out of control can bring about ritualistic behaviours, such as frequent touching or re-organising of objects.
Coping with the anxiety associated with the obsessive-compulsive disorder behaviours is a huge help in eliminating the compulsions and helping you to feel more in control.
Although statistically, CBT seems to be the usual way of helping people with OCD, it doesn’t work for everyone. If CBT has been tried and failed, or if for some reason you don’t feel it’s right for you, hypnotherapy is worth exploring. A responsible hypnotherapist will ask you to check that your OCD has been properly diagnosed and that your GP has no objection to you using hypnotherapy, before working with you.
Hypnotherapy can help you to achieve an inner calmness and promote relaxation, breaking the cycle of anxiety and panic. It can help you find coping strategies that allow you to feel safer without the compulsive behaviours, and it may also help you identify the root cause of the anxiety.
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