It makes sense that if you have obsessive compulsive disorder that it is going to cause you some anxiety in your life. Not only that but anxiety is actually a symptom of OCD. In fact, anxiety is the most common symptom of OCD and OCD is a very common disorder, affecting approximately 2.5% of Americans, which is almost 4% of the population. Anyone can get OCD no matter their race, culture, age, or gender. However, it is usually first noticed in the late teens or early 20s and most parents and teachers miss the signs because they go to such extremes to hide their disorder.
What is OCD?
OCD is a type of anxiety disorder that consists of ideas, thoughts, and images that are disturbing and will not go away. For example, a person with OCD may worry constantly about whether they have locked the door, shut the windows, or turned off the stove. Have you ever knocked on wood to ward off bad things from happening? Checked twice to see if you turned off the water? That is normal for us because we will go on about our day once we have double checked or knocked on wood. However, someone with OCD will continue to check those doors, windows, water, and whatever else all day long every day. They cannot get those bad ideas out of their head and they will obsess about these things constantly. These issues cause constant stress and anxiety so there is a definite link between the two. The compulsion part of OCD includes a behavior that you have to do over and over again to control the anxiety. For example, you may need to wash your hands constantly or count to five before eating or drinking something.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in the United States and affects more than 40 million people. It consists of feelings of stress or worry about everything constantly or worrying about one thing all the time. According to Anxiety.org, people with OCD also have anxiety disorders concurrently in over 80% of cases. However, both anxiety and OCD are treatable and over 70% those who get treatment are able to feel better within three months. Here are some of the most common signs of anxiety:
- Racing heart
- Feeling faint, dizzy, or weak
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
- Flushing or feeling warm
- Feeling like you are losing your mind
- Extreme fear of dying
- Recurrent memories of a traumatic episode
- Worrying about everything or one thing constantly
- Insomnia or having trouble staying asleep
- Avoiding other people or places
- Trying to block out memories and moods
- Negative personality
- Blaming yourself for things
- Losing interest in things you usually enjoy
- Feeling detached from others
- Inability to concentrate or make decisions
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or others
Treating OCD and Anxiety
Treatment can consist of talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and antianxiety medications such as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor SSRI such as Prozac, Zoloft, or Celexa. These drugs increase the chemical in your brain called serotonin, which is what helps control your moods. When you suffer from anxiety or depression, your neurotransmitters are taking back (reuptake) the serotonin too often so the SSRI slows the reuptake. This allows your body to have enough serotonin available to regulate your moods properly. They are called selective because they only select the serotonin, which is what you need to control your moods better. Talk therapy is also very important and if you are wondering if you can find a therapist near you, contact your doctor or you can find licensed professionals online as well.