Stop Worrying And Start Living... Here's...
OCD Should Come With A Health Warning!
Here's help for your obsessive and compulsive behaviour
Do you get an overwhelming urge to check you've locked the front door properly or to repeatedly scrub away “germs”? On occasion everyone worries about such things. But when they become obsessions and you feel compelled to act, that's obsessive-compulsive disorder - OCD.
Roughly 3-4% of the population has full-blown OCD. It causes emotional distress including depression, interfering with a sufferer’s life but also there are health implications. Recently I met a woman whose repeated, vigorous hand-washing led to terrible eczema. Other cases include people making themselves ill by taking huge levels of vitamins convinced they’ll get some terrible disease if they don't and compulsive use of cleaning fluids setting off asthma.
What is OCD? It’s a fear-based disorder where the person can’t resist their obsessions and compulsions. An obsession is an intrusive and repetitive thought. The content varies from worrying about something (like contracting germs) to fearing you'll do something “bad” (e.g. collapse in public).
A compulsion is repetitive behaviour you feel compelled to do to ward-off obsessive thoughts. So, for example, if you wash your hands five times (the compulsive behaviour) your obsessions (the thoughts) about germs are banished. If an OCD sufferer can’t do their ritual or behaviour it causes them distress and even their obsessions alone are disturbing.
Here Are Seven Steps To Solve Your OCD:
Step 1 - Explore where your OCD comes from being fuelled by fear/anxiety. Perhaps your parent had OCD and you learnt life’s frightening and you “control” the fear with certain behaviours. Or you experienced a trauma and OCD became your way of “coping” in the aftermath. Maybe it’s the way you react when demands mount at work/home. Understanding gives you more power and a springboard for action.
Step 2 - Keep an OCD diary for one week. Make it simple - mark a ‘tick’ for each obsessive thought and a ‘cross’ for each compulsive behaviour. Briefly note any trigger that sets off the thought/behaviour.
Step 3 - Examine your diary for patterns. Can you determine what sets you off? For example, is it stress when getting ready for work that leaves you fretful so you re-check locks? On a separate sheet write down your main OCD triggers (e.g., morning routine before work), your obsessions/compulsive responses, and relevant goals, e.g., to stop re-checking locks.
Step 4 - Before implementing strategies reframe your thinking. Accept that OCD is NOT a “coping” strategy. You may have seen it as your coping mechanism, your saviour even! But it's the opposite, preventing you from learning positive coping strategies. Headline your piece of paper from Step 3 with the fact "My OCD is not a coping strategy!" Hold this thought.
Step 5 - Now it’s time to enlist loved ones in your action plan. Their support’s vital in resisting your OCD. Explain clearly to them what you've identified through your diary and how you’re planning to change this. Tell them you need support in resisting OCD.
Step 6 - Taking action requires a number of elements. * Select your first goal. For example, if you wash your hands five times whenever you touch food the goal is to resist and wash four times in the first instance, then three times, etc. * As you resist the urge to wash again, use deep breathing to relax your body. * Also use continual communication with a loved one about your feelings of fear. Report to them out loud how you’re feeling resisting that fifth hand-washing. * Now affirm to yourself that you’ve coped despite not carrying out your compulsive behaviour. * Give yourself loads of praise for your resistance and acknowledge that setting goals and good communication are positive coping strategies.
Step 7 - Continue to monitor your goals and stress levels. For example, you might’ve had half-a-dozen key rituals to tackle - one at a time - building your coping-confidence. Keep an open dialogue with loved ones about your successes and your failures. Don't become secretive about OCD thoughts and behaviours that you fail to resist. Carry on being open-minded to implementing real coping strategies like talking about difficulties and looking for solutions to the stresses we all face.
For additional help:
The OCD centre - 0845-226-3110
Published in The Express Newspaper
My new book The Emotional Eater's Diet is published in the UK on May 15 - I’m very excited as I hope emotional eaters - women or men will find it helpful. Each year 2/3s of people start a diet and 20% start a new diet each month. Yet 95% of diets aren’t successful.
I firmly believe that emotional eating to soothe difficult feelings is the culprit behind most of this failure. My book has a huge range of practical tips/strategies to help understand your emotions and manage your appetite. There are mini-quizes and real case studies.
It’s available to preorder on Amazon. Please remember that food can fuel your energy needs but not your emotional needs. Take care!
I'm delighted that my latest book Sex Academy was endorsed by my fellow self-help author Siski Green who said: "Sex Academy really is THE Bible of sex books. The lessons and lectures cover the A-Z of everything you want to know - from Anal sex to getting Zero sex." I hope you enjoy it!
I was so excited and HAPPY to write this book on happiness covering my 10 unique Happiness Principles. I hope it helps increase your well-being, contentment, and happiness. I've packed it with dozens and dozens of easy-to-use strategies, plus life-changing insights. Based on about five years of collecting case studies and research I hope you'll find it helpful.
My latest sex guide's out - I've gone through thousands of questions people ask me about sex - from why they don't feel desire to how to handle a partner's kinky fetish. Here are the answers plus loads of tricks and techniques. Enjoy!
Discover the relationship between your dreams and your sex- and love-life! Go on a journey of self-discovery in this unique dream book. Case studies, a dream directory, and ‘dreamersises’ help you interpret your dreams.
My research found if a couple's been together more than one year it's unlikely you've tried any new sex tip, trick or technique for at least four months! Rescue's at hand with my 250 hottest sex tips for every aspect of your sex life.
No couple or single can be without this unique, best-selling book containing a vast range of techniques, tricks and tips to turn your lover on. From attracting someone new to recharging your old relationship, Fabulous, explores each of the sexual senses in turn!
No. 1 selling book offering you tons of fantastic sex tips PLUS a new and revolutionary ways of looking at sexual pleasure and ‘problems‘ and how they fit into a person's whole life and relationships.
No. 1 selling sex book covering everything from how your body works to infinite sex tips. The Daily Star said: 'Sinful Sex has something for everyone'
A unique parenting book giving you creative techniques to understand your child better through their dreams and nightmares. These reveal so much about a child that most parents miss out on. Strengthen your parent-child relationship, their confidence and well-being!