What are obsessions and compulsions?
Obsessions are recurring and persistent thoughts, desires, or visions that are perceived as intrusive and undesired. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental activities that a person feels compelled to carry out in reaction to an obsession or in accordance with rigidly adhered-to rules.
Repetitive behaviors such as an urge to wash hands, order things in a particular way or check on people/situations (such as a totaled bill) or mental acts (e.g., praying, or counting) that the individual feels compelled to do as per the rule established in their mind. The rule is established to prevent some calamity or extreme stress. The behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress; however, they are unrealistic and take a toll on the stress of the person and the family.
How is OCD treated?
The most common and effective treatment is CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) and ERP (exposure and response prevention), where Exposure refers to facing your fears head-on. This is supposed to “trigger” your anxiety Response prevention — and to enable the client to not engage in any ritual or compulsion.
Is worrying about how I look an obsession?
Normally teenagers and youth are conscious of their changing bodies, and many may succumb to the glamour images, and social media activity to compare their looks and body with others. However, when you can't stop thinking about one or more perceived flaws in your appearance then it is a sign of an obsessive disorder. Body Dysmorphia refers to having constant worries about one’s appearance, even when others do not see any flaw. Although people can experience it at any age, it is most common in teenagers and young adults.
How does body image impact my life and experiences?
My body image refers to the way I see my appearance and how I believe others see me. When I am uncomfortable about my looks, it impacts my self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. Therefore, it is important that I have realistic perceptions about my appearance. Negative body image can impact overall mental health and social behavior.
Psychotherapy can help me pull out of fears and obsession of being judged or invalidated by others. Seeking timely help can prevent one to have impaired insight about the reality of their looks, and enable a balanced and healthy life.