May 17, 2016 by Linda Edelstein
As creatures of habit, we tend to repeat certain behaviors, wear lucky clothes, or organize our lives into patterns. Sometimes this goes beyond habit and become a serious problem – obsessive compulsive disorder.
When you shower 3X a day, brush your teeth so often that you have rubbed the enamel off your teeth, undress in the hall so you don’t bring dirt into the house, check the door 15X before you leave the house, count words in your head, or can’t sleep until you have meticulously lined up everything in your room, you may have slipped out of the range of normal habits and into obsessive compulsive disorder.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) has 2 components – the obsessions and the compulsions. OCD causes people to be plagued by repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and/or to repeat certain rituals (compulsions).
Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts that are often frightening. People generally cannot ignore them. The thoughts get better and worse depending on your levels of stress.
Common categories of obsessive thinking:
- Fear of people or the environment contaminating you with dirt, germs, body waste or fluids.
- Excessive worry that a task was done poorly
- Extreme need for order
- Fear of thinking evil thoughts
- Fear of having committed a crime
- Repeated, excessive sexual thoughts
- Concerns with certain sounds, words or numbers
December 17, 2010 by Linda Edelstein
An overview – In the last 10 years, I have seen an increase in the numbers of people (and the severity of their problems) with anxiety. The statistics vary greatly and place anxiety disorders at between 19-40 million American adults. Anxiety can range from the expectable, will-end-soon apprehension about a test, a job interview, or medical test, to the very miserable, endless feeling of doom and dread that has no particular cause, to unexpected panic. At its worst, anxiety affects your health and limits your lifestyle. If you have anxiety, you are certainly not alone.
There are different types of anxiety. In psychology, we categorize anxiety problems by the symptoms. We don’t categorize in order to label or pigeon-hole people, but so that we can figure out specific ways of treating the problem. Here are the main types that I see.
Types of Anxiety
1. Generalized Anxiety – Anxiety can be free-floating, that is, ever present on some level, but not always high.
2. Panic Disorder – Anxiety becomes panic attacks that leave people afraid of the next attack and of losing control.
3. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – Anxiety is shown as intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, worry, or apprehension.
4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Veterans and other who experience violent personal assaults such as war, rape, mugging, or domestic violence; terrorism; natural or human-caused disasters; and accidents experience this severe form of anxiety with a variety of symptoms.
5. Phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia) – Anxiety is a fear of a specific object (snake) or situation (crowds, heights).
In coming Friday posts, I will try to describe specific features and some ways of managing the different problems.