What’s the correlation between stress and OCD? The symptoms of OCD, such as obsessiveness and perfectionism, are stressful themselves. The heightened levels of worry and anxiety can be debilitating.
Dr. Fabiana Franco writes about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and how it relates to the stressful life events that come up in life, such as bereavement, financial losses, and immigration. Dr. Franco clarifies that
Not all types of stressful events are known to trigger OCD. It is thought that interpersonal trauma such as family violence, emotional abuse or neglect, sexual abuse or dysfunctional parenting styles (over protection, neglect, rejection) are associated with OCD. Non-interpersonal trauma such as exposure to a natural disaster or witnessing a crime are not known triggers for OCD…
For someone that is already struggling with OCD, a stressful life event can cause the symptoms to escalate, to the point where they become unbearable.
All of a sudden, your compulsive intrusive thoughts become stronger and more difficult to deal with. You may find it more difficult to leave the house than usual because you need to continually check if everything is in order. When you are already in a heightened state of anxiety, you have less strength to ignore your OCD thoughts.
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Learning to cope with OCD
OCD can be a terrifying and isolating disorder to deal with on your own. It can be difficult to explain the extent of your anxiety and fear to the other people in your life. Therapy can provide a safe space for you to explore your symptoms, and come up with practical coping skills with your therapist.