Stress and The Development of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
OCD is believed to be caused by a misfiring in the information processing area of the brain. This area is known as the basal ganglia. OCD can lay dormant and can trigger when a person is stressed. In our experience of treating clients with OCD the majority of clients have said that their OCD first began following a period of stress. People with OCD tend to be more emotionally sensitive than others.
Stress heightens ones level of arousal. So that under stress the intensity of ones emotions become heightened. Sufferers often fear the intensity of the anxiety that they feel as well as fearing the intensity of the worry itself. OCD tends to be psychosomatic, although not caused by stress, but it can be triggered by stress.
One way that a sufferer can reduce the intensity of their heightened level of arousal, is by doing some progressive muscular relaxation. If your body is relaxed it signals to the brain that adrenalin is not needed. Taking time for oneself to relax is not a luxury for sufferers of OCD but a necessity.
There are many good videos on you tube on progressive muscular relaxation. Relaxation will not cure OCD but it will help you to bring your heightened level of arousal down and reduce the intensity of the anxiety and worry. We educate our clients about the stress response and the connection of OCD and stress. Knowledge is power. As a result of the intensity of ones feelings the worry that one experiences with OCD sufferers develop an irrational core belief. We help our clients to challenge their irrational core beliefs using cognitive and behavioral therapy as well as teaching our clients how to rewire the brain and fixed the firing of the sticky mental gear shift within the informational processing area within the brain.