Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a clinically recognised disorder which affects around 1-2% of the population.
People with OCD experience intensely negative, repetitive and intrusive thoughts, combined with a chronic feeling of doubt or danger (obsessions). The repetition of actions, compulsions, which are characteristic of OCD, can be understood as a way for the sufferer to try to quieten the anxiety and quell the thoughts. It is a debilitating, paralysing and isolating condition, and sufferers can feel trapped and cut off from the world.
Symptoms include excessive washing or cleaning, repeated checking, extreme hoarding, preoccupation with sexual, violent or religious thoughts, relationship-related obsessions, aversion to particular numbers and nervous rituals, such as opening and closing a door a certain number of times before entering or leaving a room.
OCD sufferers generally recognise their obsessions and compulsions as irrational compulsions and become further distressed by this realisation.
One third to half of the adults affected report a childhood onset of the disorder.
The medical community are still trying to work out the root causes of OCD.
They have identified a genetic predisposition, but also now recognise that an important life event, such as a bereavement or family break-up may trigger OCD in people who have the tendency to develop the condition. Stress seems to make the symptoms of OCD worse. However it has not been recognised as causing OCD on its own. Brain imaging studies have shown that people with with OCD have abnormalities in some parts of the brain, including increased activity and blood flow in the areas of the brain related to strong emotions, and also a lack of the brain chemical, serotonin, that is responsible for regulating mood, memory and sleep. It has been noted that many OCD sufferers respond well to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Treatments at Khiron House
One of the treatments we offer at Khiron House is EMDR and recent studies have shown that OCD can respond well to this treatment in a therapeutic context. Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy that emphasises disturbing memories as the cause of certain pathologies, and it focusses on tapping into the deep processes related to the ones activated during rapid eye movement sleep.
Also, Khiron House’s treatments work to regulate the nervous system, and research is showing that finding ways to bring balance back to a dysregulated nervous system is critical to understanding the root cause of mental health conditions. These therapies aim to resolve unfinished biological responses to a previously stressful, or threatening, incidents. These leave a residual disturbance in the body, specifically in the sympathetic nervous system.
This fails to reset and does not return to a state of balance. The resulting dysregulation causes the body to be over-responsive to the next threat and over time this can build into a total failure of the biology to metabolise threat.
Call us on 020 3668 1606 to learn more about our OCD treatment.