Worriers and OCD sufferers can take steps to stop the cycle


When we worry, our orbital cortex, or underside of the brain, uses more energy. PET scans show that over-activity in this area occurs in people who hyper-worry and those who suffer from OCD.

With effective cognitive-behavioral therapy, it’s possible to slow down the brain and level out the anxieties.

In The OCD Workbook by Bruce M. Hyman, PhD, and Cherry Pedrick, RN, they explain the ABCD's of faulty beliefs. It is a four-step cycle that, if left unfettered, can create a cycle of psychosis.

ABCD's of Faulty Beliefs

A = Activity event and intrusive thought, image or urge

This is the first question: What if I didn’t lock the door? I’m not really clean. What if I need this later?

B = Faulty belief about the intrusive thought

If I left the door unlocked, I won’t be safe. If I’m not clean, I’ll die. If I need this later, I can’t throw it away.

C = Emotional consequences: anxiety, doubt, worry

I’ll never be safe; people are coming to get me. Germs cover my body, and I’ll never be well. What if I don’t have what I need? If I don’t have what I need, I won’t survive.

D = Neutralizing ritual or avoidance

Checking the lock will keep me safe. Washing my hands will keep me healthy. Keeping these things will help me survive.

Common Cognitive Errors

In a person with an overactive orbital cortex, what starts as a small worry can become an obsession. The authors pointed to some of the typical cognitive errors of worriers and OCD sufferers:

  • Overestimating risk, harm and danger
  • Perfectionism
  • Catastrophizing
  • Black-and-white, or all-or-nothing, thinking
  • Persistent doubting
  • Magical or superstitious thinking
  • Intolerance of uncertainty or anxiety
  • Over-responsibility
  • What-if thinking
  • Extraordinary cause and effect

How to Change Your Thought Patterns

Once you recognize your patterns of worry, you can attempt to change your thought patterns - with or without professional help.

First, recognize the thought when it happens - label it or give it a name so that you can feel more in control.

Second, remind yourself that this is a physiological reaction. Your brain is over-reacting and creating exceptional worry; this isn’t reality.

Third, turn your attention to something else that is completely different. Find an alternate activity to take your mind away from the obsessive thought.

Fourth, respect yourself. Remind yourself that you are powerful and you control your body and thoughts.

If your obsessive thoughts go beyond the average worrier, this may be too much to do on your own. See a professional who can help guide and support you.

Source: Hufffington Post

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