Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can range from simple everyday behaviours such as tidiness (e.g. placing all food tins in the cupboard with the label facing outwards) to counting numbers or doing sums in their head to the point that they can think of nothing else.
With all obsessional thoughts and behaviours, it is the degree to which the issue is preoccupying your time and/or limiting your life that is important.
For example, someone who worries about dirt or contamination may simply wash their hands carefully, maybe try and avoid using public toilets, or perhaps ensure they do not touch doors or handles in public toilets even if this means waiting a long time for someone else to open the door so they can nip through ‘untouched’.
However, place this same person under stress and they may begin to wash their hands obsessively and for some people this may become ritualistic to the point that their hands are never clean enough to leave their house.
The following list is certainly not exhaustive, but covers the more common Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and behaviours that we have been consulted for:
- Being overly jealous or possessive over a partner
- Eating issues (e.g. avoiding certain foods, anorexia)
- Constant worry about something
- Sleeping problems (e.g. insomnia)
- Excessive exercise
- Continual negative thoughts
- Intrusive thoughts
- Constant counting
- Excessive tidiness
- Rituals (e.g. avoiding cracks in the pavement, multiple lock-checking routines)
Please do not be put off if your particular issue has not been identified in the list above: Obsessive Compulsive Disorders are so varied and often specific to the individual that it would be impossible to list them all here.
What is important to realise is that it is the underlying reasons for the behaviour that is significant and it is this that is treated with hypnotherapy or one of our Psychotherapy interventions, rather than the precise behaviours themselves.