OCD Awareness Week 2017
9 Oct 2017
OCD Awareness Week 2017
What is OCD Awareness Week?
OCD Awareness Week is a global effort to raise awareness about OCD. This year OCD Awareness Week will take place on 9th October 2017- 15th October 2017 and the key purpose is to help raise awareness and understanding about obsessive compulsive disorder, helping more people to get timely access to appropriate resources and effective treatment.
What is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. This affects men, women and children which can develop at any age. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviours in which an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.
What are the Causes of OCD?
- Family history- If a family member has OCD then it is more likely that it will be passed on dependent on your genes.
- Differences in the brain- Some people with OCD have areas of unusually high activity in their brain or low levels of a chemical called serotonin.
- Life events- OCD may be more common in people who have experienced bullying, abuse or neglect and it can occur after an important life event, such as childbirth or family bereavement or a life threatening accident e.g. car accident.
- Personality- Neat, meticulous, methodical people with high personal standards may be more likely to develop OCD, as may those who are generally quite anxious or have a very strong sense of responsibility for themselves and others.
What are the Symptoms of OCD?
- Fear of being contaminated by germs or dirt or contaminating others
- Fear of losing control and harming yourself or others
- Intrusive sexually explicit or violent thoughts and images
- Fear of losing or not having things you might not need
- Superstitions excessive attention to something considered lucky or unlucky
- Excessive double checking of things, such as locks, appliances and switches
- Repeatedly checking on loved ones to make sure they’re safe
- Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety
- Spending a lot of time washing or cleaning
- Accumulating junk such as old newspapers or empty food containers
Charities which help with OCD include OCD Action, OCD UK and many others including a variety of different support groups.
If you need help visit your GP, asking about your symptoms and refer you to a local psychological therapy service if necessary.
What are the Main Treatments for OCD?
Psychological Therapy- Usually a special type of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which helps you to face your fears and obsessive thoughts without putting them right with compulsions.
Medication- Usually a type of antidepressant medication called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that can help by altering the balance of chemicals in your brain.
CBT and SSRIs are the two main treatments for OCD and most effective. CBT usually has a quick effect; however it can take several months before you notice the effects of the treatment with SSRIs, but most people eventually begin to benefit from this.
You can also have a combination of both SSRI and CBT if the individual treatments do not help or offered an alternative SSRI. Some people may be referred back to a specialist mental health service for further treatment depending on how severe the OCD is.
How can OCD be Managed?
- Don’t avoid your fears conquer them
- Refocus your attention on something else such as walking, exercise; play a video game do something you enjoy to get your mind off OCD triggers.
- Anticipate OCD urges helps you to ease the symptoms by paying extra attention to the subject from the start. This will make you aware that it is mentally correct and does not need to be checked again. For example locking doors, turning the oven off for the first time correctly then it does not need to be checked repeatedly helping to reduce OCD triggers.
- Write down your obsessive thoughts or worries via notebook with a pen or pencil or via tablet, smartphone or desktop. This will help you to keep a record of your OCD thoughts so you can see how repetitive they are. This will reduce OCD triggers due to the fact that it is much harder work writing thoughts down than thinking thoughts so they will more likely to fade.
How can you get involved with OCD Awareness Week?
- Host your own event such as open mic night, arrange to speak at a local school, college or university, be a social media advocate for the week to be a part of OCD Awareness Week.
- Host a local viewing party to watch OCD related films, TV shows, or videos.
- Host your own house party to raise awareness and funds for the OCD Community.
- Host an event or fundraiser at a local community centre or library such as a lecture with a local OCD expert, support groups, art exhibit, storytelling etc.
- Be a mentor and friend to someone with OCD.
- Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about OCD Awareness Week.
- Start an email campaign raising awareness of OCD Awareness Week sending the message to relatives, friends and colleagues.
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