Obsessions are recurrent, persistent, intrusive, and unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses that cause marked anxiety and interfere with interpersonal, social, occupational function. The person knows these thoughts are excessive or unreasonable but believes he or she has no control over them. Compulsions are ritualistic or repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person carries out continuously in an attempt to neutralize anxiety (Osborn, 1998). Usually the theme of the ritual is associates with that of the obsession such repetitive hand washing when someone is obsessed with contamination or repeated prayers or confession for someone obsessed with blasphemous thoughts.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is diagnosed only when these thoughts, images, and impulses consume the person or he or she is compelled to act out the behaviors to a point at which they interfere with personal, social, and occupational function. OCD can be manifested through many behaviors, all of which are repetitive, meaningless, and difficult to conquer. The person understands that these rituals are unusual and unreasonable but feels forced to perform them all to alleviate anxiety or to prevent the terrible thoughts. Obsessions and compulsions are a source of distress and shame to the person who may go to great lengths to keep them secret.
The stress that OCD thoughts can bring to you can be really difficult. People’s minds work in such a way that decisions are made based on emotions, not logic. The minds tell to perform obsessive compulsive disorder based tasks even when the person doesn’t want to. This shows that actions are opposed to logic or basic understanding to do something based on what actually is wanted.
For many years, OCD was thought to be rare. Some recent studies show that as many as 3 million Americans ages 18 to 54 may have OCD at any one time. This is about 2.3% of the people in this age group. OCD affects men and women equally.
No one has found a single, proven cause for OCD. Some research shows that it may have to do with chemicals in the brain that carry messages from one nerve cell to another. One of these chemicals, called serotonin, helps to keep people from repeating the same behaviors over and over again. A person who has OCD may not have enough serotonin. Many people who have OCD can function better when they take medicines that increase the amount of serotonin in their brain.
There are a number of different approaches to treating OCD, and using a combination of these may be the most effective.
One approach is playing video games which may be a good way to distract self and help until the anxiety passes. This is also true with the Brain Lock Technique which In the book Dr. Schwartz describes a cognitive behavioral technique used in a successful study done at UCLA. The most important step in the technique is to shift focus to something else. At any given moment focus is in the mind, in the environment, or in the body. When stuck in obsessive thoughts or compulsive rituals, it’s vital to shift focus.