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What Is OCD and What Is NOT

January 30, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 126

I wanted to take this opportunity to go over a major misconception people have about what obsessions qualify under the rubric of obsessive-compulsive disorder or obsessive-compulsive behavior. The general public seems to have a general belief that virtually any repetitive behavior falls under the definition of "obsessive." Below is a list of behaviors that people commonly mistakenly believe are obsessive in the genre of OCD:

Finger nail biting (sorry this is called a bad habit)People who collect things they enjoy (this is called a hobby BUT hoarding useless items is much different)People who drink to much alcohol (please see addiction)People who gamble too much (see gambling problem)Usually young men who are overboard with pornography (impulse control problem)People who like to steal things (kleptomania)Children with ticks (usually tick disorder or Tourettes disorder)People who have repetitive negative thoughts about themselves, the world, and their future, (this is depression)Superstitious or religious activities such as prayingPeople who are particular but have no anxiety.

From this list it is easy to see that there are many conditions, situations, and behaviors that are repetitive. We could spend the entire evening going over the diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV-TR for OCD to completely delineate the exact definition of what is obsessive-compulsive but one only needs to understand one basic concept. Anxiety and fear are what drives OCD behaviors. The intrusive thought or worry causes intense anxiety which escalates quickly. The function of the repetitive behavior is to decrease anxiety in the short-term. The person often times is well aware that the worries they are having and the subsequent actions to reduce anxiety (rituals) are completely irrational, yet the feel compelled to do the rituals because they seek to reduce the tension and anxiety. The rituals or actions are done to ESCAPE anxiety. The person feels they have no choice but to do them.

When people engage in these ritualistic behaviors they decrease their anxiety causing a negative reinforcement loop that only strengthens the anxiety and makes it more likely the intrusions will return. Several of the behaviors listed above are either enjoyable, reinforcing (feel good,) or are not driven by anxiety. Therefore they are not in the realm or spectrum of OC. If you or a loved one are unsure what qualifies as OCD, please call a qualified professional. There is nothing wrong with picking up the phone and calling to ask a question. I have fielded many calls seeking information like this and have never had a problem answering them. Dr Jim.

Genesis Counseling Services is a state certified outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment clinic, one of the three largest in Rock County. We were established in 1988, and have a 23-year reputation for providing quality services. Our staff has varied clinical orientations but the most dominant orientation is cognitive-behavioral. We are open from 8:00am to 8:00pm and schedule Saturday hours as needed. Our location in downtown Janesville is easily accessible and professional. I am very proud of our staff and our facility is second to none in comfort and professionalism. There is not a single outpatient mental health facility that makes the investment Genesis does to provide a top notch setting for patients and staff. We would like the opportunity serve you in your time of need. Please feel free to call us at (608) 757-0404.

Source: EzineArticles
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