Hello. I have some questions about my husband’s health. You see, he was always a bit nervous man and never peaceful and calm but I got used on this with years being with him.
But lately I have noticed that things get lost of control. Several times I have caught him washing his hands for hours. He, once even drive and drive around the block several times just to be sure he didn’t leave light or TV on.
So, I started to think he has maybe developed some disorder. I don’t know anything about it but one friend told me it is called obsessive-compulsive disorder. Any ideas what this could be?
I know some facts about this disorder you have mentioned because my good friend has been diagnosed with it last year.
I believe your husband definitely developed this disorder because I have recognized some symptoms.
Obsessive-Compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder and it’s characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts or behaviors. This isn’t so serious disorder but the real threat is that not so many people contact their doctors over this. There is no single, proven cause of OCD. The crucial thing you should know about this disorder is that you have to talk with your husband to seek some professional mental help because it is completely treatable.
This is obsessive compulsive disorder. They call it that because there is usually an obsession -- something, for example, bothering your husband, like the idea that his hands are not clean. So his brain keeps telling him that his hands are not clean, even after he washes them, or that the light is on, or that he left an oven on in the kitchen. The brain keeps sending off this false obsessive thought. Then the compulsion part comes in as an attempt to make him feel better (so he feels he can wash his hands and THIS time it will work and he will feel clean. In other words, the compulsion part is an attempt to handle his obsession. The good news is this is quite treatable, even when it can bother one for hours. The treatment is hard at first. For one, it involves not doing the compulsion. In other words, even if he feels he should wash his hands, he should not. Then the brain after a while will not "mis-fire" this false message that his hands are dirty. A good way to not do the compulsion (washing, checking, driving, saying sentences in his head, etc.) is to find something he does like to do, something wholesome, and do that instead to the best of his ability to distract himself from doing the compulsion. If he likes to garden, then garden; if he likes to draw or clean the house or listen to the radio and work on his car -- whatever it is as long as it is NOT the compulsion. A lot of people do exercise to distract themselves. There is a minor trick in not letting the distraction ever become a new compulsion.
The funny thing is the person experiencing OCD feels like the world will end, or something bad will happen, if they don't do the compulsion, but the great part is sometimes the individual is only bothered for twenty minutes or so. But he will need to always keep NOT doing the compulsion to get better.