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Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD: Repetitive intrusive thoughts, compulsive behaviors

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dunerbug

ADMIN NOTE The term "OCD" has become slang for normal preoccupations or unwelcome thoughts that keep on returning. Most of these situations are not true  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but nagging doubts or worries, or a self-sabotaging habit of mind that can be resolved. (Still, you might have gotten a drug prescription to treat this pseudo-OCD.)

 

Withdrawal symptoms can bring up intense, shocking thoughts and feelings out of nowhere and are unprecedented in the person's experience. Ordinarily, we dismiss these thoughts, but the neurological condition of withdrawal seems to exacerbate them or dredge up primal fears. These arise with withdrawal symptoms and fade in the recovery process. This is not true OCD. See Neuro-emotion

 

However, some people have repetitive intrusive thoughts or behaviors that existed before going on drugs, even from childhood. These can be very distressing, impairing the ability to conduct a normal life. This is true Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

 

Nobody on this site thinks any psychological disorders magically go away by going off psychiatric drugs. If you think the drugs are controlling certain symptoms, such as true OCD, you will need to learn to manage those symptoms without drugs.

 

Taking responsibility for your own health and behavior is key to going off psychiatric drugs. If you cannot do that, and the symptoms are hampering your life, perhaps tapering to the lowest effective dosage rather going off drugs should be your goal.

 

If you have a tendency towards obsessive anxiety about your health, no amount of reassurance from others here will have an effect on it. You must do the work yourself. Read Health anxiety, hypochondria, and obsession with symptoms

 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), other types of psycotherapy, and meditation are non-drug ways to manage habits of obsessive thinking. People also find their own effective self-treatments, such as taking up various sports or hobbies. See Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

SurvivingAntidepressants.org is not a general mental health support site. If you wish to talk about your obsessive preoccupations, you may wish to visit http://www.depressionforums.org/or other general mental health support sites, and post on SurvivingAntidepressants.org only when you have questions about tapering.

 


 

I would love to discuss this, as it has been one of my worst issues since I've weaned. I've struggled off and on with ocd since about 2000. Was on zoloft for a year when it first started. Was told at the time I had ppd/ocd. After that time period I'd spent many years managing it without the use of medication. Ocd became a little more bothersome after I'd learned of my husband's affair in 2009. Hello prozac. On it, things felt more calm but the issues were still there. kind of felt like they were paused. Like they were in waiting. I think the med made it feel like I didn't have to work on it because I had the buffer. It didn't bother me the way it should have. Still, it was there and I just sort of carried it around with me. The prozac numbed out the need to to truly work on it. I hope that made sense. It's kinda hard to explain. Now I'm here....in withdrawal. The ocd I'm experiencing now is so vastly different than the ocd of my past. It kind of makes a lot of what I'd once dealt with seem like a mere annoyance. (although the ppd was no picnic) (This must be the neuro-emotion that I've seen talked about here?) The ocd has become relentless. It really likes to focus on the things I love most. I would love to hear from those here that deal with obsessive thoughts and behaviors in withdrawal. How do you cope with them? What helps?

Edited by Altostrata
updated admin note

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Narcissus

Obsessive behaviors can differ so widely that maybe you should describe what in particular you're struggling with.

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dunerbug

For me it has been a lot of washing, cleaning and checking. I ask for reassurance A LOT! My hands become dry and cracked from washing them too much. I do not like crowded places for fear of getting bumped or brushed against. (wich causes anxiety/panic) My depth perception must be really off because things seem really close. I will be positive something was right near me only to have my husband tell me that it was really far away. It could just be that I was soo focused on it that It felt closer out of fear...? I dunno.

 

I struggle with intrusive thoughts that can consume mind to the point of not being able to focus on much else. My poor husband get's asked the same guestions over and over and over sometimes, til I can feel "ok" about it. It's very disrupting and difficult. It's very unlike the the struggles of my past.

 

Since weaning, it has become relentless.

 

I will say this, (and I hesitate to) that I have more days where it's not as bad.

 

I'm so hoping that it lessens more and more over time.

 

I've got some really great books on ocd and have sought help for it since weaning. I'ts just that the feelings are so intense since going off prozac. Some of the things I know I'm supposed to do or ways I'm supposed to think toward it, go right out the window during a particularly tough episode.

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antoinette

I have it terrible too. Obsessive thoughts and cleaning rituals. Thats my biggest complaint in wd. I did cbt therapy and it helped a ton. Your right it does center around what we love the most. I remember always having ocd but like ypu said just merely an annoyance, this is awful. It will pass too just like everything else. Just ride the wave and let the emotions come and go. Its a very scary thing to have and time consuming, i just keep myself busy, which sucks because i would.like to relax too but its not possible. Do you feel like that?

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dunerbug

I have it terrible too. Obsessive thoughts and cleaning rituals. Thats my biggest complaint in wd. I did cbt therapy and it helped a ton. Your right it does center around what we love the most. I remember always having ocd but like ypu said just merely an annoyance, this is awful. It will pass too just like everything else. Just ride the wave and let the emotions come and go. Its a very scary thing to have and time consuming, i just keep myself busy, which sucks because i would.like to relax too but its not possible. Do you feel like that?

 

I know what you mean. If I'm up and doing things during the day it's with a lot of anxiety and effort.

I just want to be able to sit with my family and watch a movie or something without terrible anxiety.

 

The only way I can relax is to be alone and holed up in my room.

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Barbarannamated

Dunerbug,

 

Your use of the term "paused" gave me pause. That is EXACTLY how i feel... as if my life was put on pause at age 33 and, now, at 50, I've completely lost who i am, my career, friends, and nearly 2 decades of life. A few times recently, when I stop to remember how old i am, my gut reaction is *early 30s*. Then reality hits. My body defintely is not early 30s, or 40s. :(

 

Sorry for the tangent.

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dunerbug

Dunerbug,

 

Your use of the term "paused" gave me pause. That is EXACTLY how i feel... as if my life was put on pause at age 33 and, now, at 50, I've completely lost who i am, my career, friends, and nearly 2 decades of life. A few times recently, when I stop to remember how old i am, my gut reaction is *early 30s*. Then reality hits. My body defintely is not early 30s, or 40s. :(

 

Sorry for the tangent.

 

Maybe that was part of why I wanted off of the med so bad. I wasn't getting "better" I was simply going on.

 

Part of the sadness I feel now is because of things I'm missing out on. I'm currently in my 30's and I feel so worn and broken sometimes.

I know that is very woe is me .... but really, I'm so thankful I found this site! I read in the success stories and it makes me feel better.

 

I know, in a lot of small ways, I'm improving....even if I can't always see it.

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dunerbug

I know that for a lot of us, this particular subject is really difficult to talk about. It carries a lot of shame with it because, often the subject matter of intrusive thoughts can be so repulsive and out of character.

 

I won't even get in to the depth of mine. I was told by my psych doc. that the subject matter of our ocd thoughts is irrelevant, as it is all treated the same way and all comes from the same place.

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antoinette

Thats exactly it dunerbug. I just want to relax with my kids. I feel like my life is passing by and i cant enjoy it. Did u have this before wd?

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Outshined

I developed OCD-like symptoms after withdrawal, I've never had them before. I like a lot the "flare-ups hypothesis" (I totally made up this name by myself :) ) pgd0308 gave in this thread :

 

The flare-ups tend to give our thoughts an urgent quality that they wouldn't have otherwise, and as our nervous systems heal I suspect that this will go away. The anxiety produced by withdrawal seems to often lead to obsessive and cyclical behavior, as 'normal' anxiety so often does.

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Barbarannamated

For me, the perception of time is very different than when on Pristiq. Missed time, passed time during which i was not fully aware. I've called it a Rip van Winkle effect. Waking up and feeling as if others' lives have marched on and i was put on PAUSE in the 1990s but lost many things along the way to 2013. Leads to urgency to catch up, make decisions and changes.

 

I never had this prior to withdrawing.

 

Sorry... I'm repeating myself again. :(

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2319-urgency-to-reclaim-lifemake-up-for-lost-time/page__fromsearch__1

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dunerbug

For me, the perception of time is very different than when on Pristiq. Missed time, passed time during which i was not fully aware. I've called it a Rip van Winkle effect. Waking up and feeling as if others' lives have marched on and i was put on PAUSE in the 1990s but lost many things along the way to 2013. Leads to urgency to catch up, make decisions and changes.

 

I never had this prior to withdrawing.

 

Sorry... I'm repeating myself again. :(

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2319-urgency-to-reclaim-lifemake-up-for-lost-time/page__fromsearch__1

 

That's really interesting and I think I feel this in a sense. Sometimes I get panicky, thinking of how much time has been stolen from me.

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dunerbug

Thats exactly it dunerbug. I just want to relax with my kids. I feel like my life is passing by and i cant enjoy it. Did u have this before wd?

 

I have experienced ocd symptoms off and on for the past 12 years, so, I'm no stranger to it. It changed themes and what not. With the exception of PPD, it has been very manageable over the years.

 

The ocd I deal with now, since prozac, is vastly different. It is a relentless beast that I can't seem to get out from under at times. Between this, the depression and all the physical symptoms, I get pretty beaten down.

 

I hate, hate, hate, that I will inevitably be told that what I'm experiencing is a relapse by most doctors. Because I have had some ocd in my past, it makes a good case. But I know how my life was before all this mess.

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Earthworm

I did not have OCD before withdrawal started. I had social anxiety all my life though, which is a form of OCD as I've come to realize. The first simptom that appeared in withdrawal from Lexapro was OCD. Horrific intensity OCD that I never had before. It started with perfectionism, then checking and never feeling sure that I've closed or finished doing anything. Then I stopped driving because I constantly feel I ran someone over but didn't notice. I have so many obsessions now. Some other ones include the obsession of someone misunderstanding me and thinking that I was rude or mean to them when I really wasn't. I have some minor germ OCD and cleaning. What has been bothering me most all these years though is the perfectionism and religious OCD.

 

Ever since withdrawal started I've had OCD, thats almost 6 years now. I did start back on SSRI's a couple months after withdrawal started, and that did lower the OCD, but it is still terrible as I've described above. Without the SSRI's my OCD becomes unbearable 24/7/365 non stop horror in the brain that is unsurvivable.

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antoinette

O god earthworm that sounds like me. Cbt has helped a ton and its getting better but i obsess over everything since i stopped lexapro. I hope to god mine doesnt last forever.

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Narcissus

I realize that phrases like OCD are used colloquially to describe certain behavior, but I just want to warn people about potentially diagnosing themselves with new disorders, especially when withdrawal symptoms are to blame. If you go, for instance, to a psychiatrist and start complaining about your newfound OCD you'll be pigeonholed and prescribed more medication almost immediately. And we know all know where that road ends. Just a word of caution.

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Jemima

I realize that phrases like OCD are used colloquially to describe certain behavior, but I just want to warn people about potentially diagnosing themselves with new disorders, especially when withdrawal symptoms are to blame. If you go, for instance, to a psychiatrist and start complaining about your newfound OCD you'll be pigeonholed and prescribed more medication almost immediately. And we know all know where that road ends. Just a word of caution.

 

Pgd makes a very good point. When Lexapro began to overstimulate me, I thank God that #1) I was getting my medication from my long-time PCP rather than a psychiatrist, and #2) I said the medication was too strong and making me hyperactive. I hate to think what might have happened if I had said 'manic' instead of "hyperactive".

 

I'm 67 years old and at this point in my life I find it's best to avoid doctors of any sort as much as possible. Medicine certainly isn't the helping profession that it was when I was a kid.

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dunerbug

I realize that phrases like OCD are used colloquially to describe certain behavior, but I just want to warn people about potentially diagnosing themselves with new disorders, especially when withdrawal symptoms are to blame. If you go, for instance, to a psychiatrist and start complaining about your newfound OCD you'll be pigeonholed and prescribed more medication almost immediately. And we know all know where that road ends. Just a word of caution.

 

It was recommended for me to get back on meds a few different times since the ocd worsened. I'm holding out because I didn't have ocd as horrific before prozac. This tells me something.

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Barbarannamated

I realize that phrases like OCD are used colloquially to describe certain behavior, but I just want to warn people about potentially diagnosing themselves with new disorders, especially when withdrawal symptoms are to blame. If you go, for instance, to a psychiatrist and start complaining about your newfound OCD you'll be pigeonholed and prescribed more medication almost immediately. And we know all know where that road ends. Just a word of caution.

 

Exactly. It astounds me how often i hear people, including kids, say "I'm depressed".

 

/back to original discussion.

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IndigoEarthling

I did not have OCD before withdrawal started. I had social anxiety all my life though, which is a form of OCD as I've come to realize. The first simptom that appeared in withdrawal from Lexapro was OCD. Horrific intensity OCD that I never had before. It started with perfectionism, then checking and never feeling sure that I've closed or finished doing anything. Then I stopped driving because I constantly feel I ran someone over but didn't notice. I have so many obsessions now. Some other ones include the obsession of someone misunderstanding me and thinking that I was rude or mean to them when I really wasn't. I have some minor germ OCD and cleaning. What has been bothering me most all these years though is the perfectionism and religious OCD.Ever since withdrawal started I've had OCD, thats almost 6 years now. I did start back on SSRI's a couple months after withdrawal started, and that did lower the OCD, but it is still terrible as I've described above. Without the SSRI's my OCD becomes unbearable 24/7/365 non stop horror in the brain that is unsurvivable.

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IndigoEarthling

Earthworm- I'm 10 months cold turkey off citalopram and experiencing very similar obsessions with washing, cleaning, checking and making sure my dog is inside the house.

 

Did it ever get better or go away?

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Wildflower0214

I have them about feeling guilty over things.

 

I have felt guilty about driving 5 miles over the speed limit, and have had thoughts of of turning myself into police. Ridiculous.

 

I also have them over many other things. It's only guilty feelings that are somehow connected to me being punished in some way for what I've done that bother me.

 

I have had intrusive thoughts about self-harm and harming others, and earlier in WD, I was able to recognize with help from a therapist that these thoughts were rooted in a fear of losing control. Now knowing that doesn't help as much as it did months ago.

 

I feel also like my conscience is overly active.... Like on steroids. I also have the religious aspect to it.

 

I know God does not accuse me. But, at a gut level when the thoughts happen, it often overiees this knowlege.

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Broken

Posted this on an OCD forum prior to PGAD which rendered me pretty useless. I was at one point pretty upbeat and tried to will those with OCD to help themselves by viewing their thoughts as that, just thoughts. It might help someone so I thought I'd post it here.

 

As I was saying...

 

The trick is NOT caring about the content of your thoughts no matter how abhorrent.

 

It's the only way to break free from OCD's grip. Difficult to do though when you feel that it's too significant to ignore. We're problem solvers, it's like we're trying to get all the sides of a rubix cube only the more we play with it the more convoluted and impossible it becomes.

 

Eventually we get bored and put it down, occasionally we'll pick it up only to loose interest in it.

 

It can remain unsolved forever and it matters not a jot.

 

Put down the rubix cube!

 

Incidentally I can only ever manage one side, ******* rubix cube!

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serena

Thank you, Broken!

Your rubix cube analogy really registered with me.

 

Serena

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hopefullyhopeful23

Has anyone had Zoloft or seroquel to trigger harm ocd. Or any type of ocd and repitive unwanted thoughts

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LoveandLight

Yes zoloft.

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hopefullyhopeful23

So this triggered you to have harm ocd? Even when off of it mine didn't appear until a few months after quitting zoloft

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LoveandLight

Sorry - repetitive suicidal thoughts. Reptitive thoughts of memories/flashbacks, loop of some song, or phrase, obsessive thinking but not harm OCD.

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IndigoEarthling

The OCD has gotten better in some regards, however it seems to have just been replaced with more general anxiety and depression.

 

Has anyone tried exposure ritual prevention therapy for contamination ocd?

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Wildflower0214

Ok, this may be similar to OCD, or ruminations. But, since this whole WD has started I have been scared of myself because I have an idea of how nuts I am.

 

Like, I cannot watch anything scary on TV that is the least but violent. My mom watches crime shows, and I used to not be able to watch them because I would be afraid something like that would happen to me. Now, I'm scared I would end up doing something awful because I feel totally unstable.

 

Another example is when they had it on the news about that guy who killed the man from the American sniper story. I could not even be in the kitchen and hear the TV, because I started getting afraid that I could do something terrible like that.

 

And, the bad thing is, that when I try to talk myself out of this state of mind, my brain will attach to one event that proves that I MAY do something crazy and will use it as evidence against me. Like, I will be trying to overcome the fear of harming someone, and all of the sudden I will have a memory of an incident in traffic when I lived in NY, and that day I did want to smack that person. Of course, I didn't. But, just remembering the desire and anger then throws me into anxiety thinking I would actually hurt someone. :(

 

I don't know if any of this makes any sense or if anyone relates. I never thought about stuff like this before. If I did it was so minor that I don't remember it.

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mammaP

I don't think you would be a danger to anyone JDM, because you are aware of what you fear. People who lose control usually don't think they are wrong, they feel justified, if you get what I mean. You are the last person to cause harm to anyone!  The thoughts and fears that come as a result of drugs and withdrawal are very real and upsetting but they aren't you and will not last. Try not to take them seriously, I have got very good at sweeping them away and even laughing at them they are so ridiculous. Dwelling on them reinforces them and the fear is amplified. 

 

I know you will have seen it already but Alto's change the channel thread helped me to deal with my disturbing thoughts, but like you I can't watch anything violent. I used to watch the cop shows like CSI but can't watch them now, for me it is like I witnessed murder right here in my house and takes a long time to shake off the images, testing my change the channel techniques to the limit. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/846-change-the-channel-dealing-with-cognitive-symptoms/

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NoMeaning25

Wow I have this since the beginning of withdrawal, what is it called??

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Wildflower0214

I have no idea what it's called. But, it is one of the worst symptons ever. I think it stems from a fear of losing control.

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Wildflower0214

I don't think you would be a danger to anyone JDM, because you are aware of what you fear. People who lose control usually don't think they are wrong, they feel justified, if you get what I mean. You are the last person to cause harm to anyone! The thoughts and fears that come as a result of drugs and withdrawal are very real and upsetting but they aren't you and will not last. Try not to take them seriously, I have got very good at sweeping them away and even laughing at them they are so ridiculous. Dwelling on them reinforces them and the fear is amplified.

 

I know you will have seen it already but Alto's change the channel thread helped me to deal with my disturbing thoughts, but like you I can't watch anything violent. I used to watch the cop shows like CSI but can't watch them now, for me it is like I witnessed murder right here in my house and takes a long time to shake off the images, testing my change the channel techniques to the limit.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/846-change-the-channel-dealing-with-cognitive-symptoms/

Thanks MammaP. :)

 

I need to learn how to change the channel. Lol I'm trying to learn. I feel like everything is a trigger and I have to be so vigilent about anything, or it sends me down the rabbit hole with this kind of anxiety.

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dalsaan

I think these drugs generate a loss of confidence in self. We see and experience ourselves in a different light and we ask who the hell am I. I agree that this leads to a strong sense that we have lost control (and therefore anything is possible). I think changing the channel is important but so is positive self talk and positive body language.

 

I love this talk on the power of body language. I think it helps feel in control and get back in touch with our body in a positive way. This, in turn helps to chase away the fear http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en

 

Give it a go

 

D

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btdt

I agree the loss of confidence is a big problem I have it still I have a completely different take on the world and all the people in it now but mostly a different take on myself... how can I ever trust myself again... I think I wrote something about this once... more the confidence issue and seeing the world differently. 

 

As for the other... I don't watch things that put me on edge I found it a bad idea for a long long long time years I did not watch the news or any crime drama sort of tv ... I prefer not to watch any now.  I cannot stomach it.  Still at times things will hit me the wrong way and start a chain reaction of crap. It makes it difficult to live in the world as there are so many violent shows on ...even abuse of power or any sort of power issues freak me out now...even worse as I see doctors and what I have lived thru as abuse I do... and I do not care ...who see this doctors have power ... giving damaging drugs to people and hurting them for decades is abuse of power. in my mind. 

 

As for the trusting yourself not to do something outward that hurts others... for me this passed in time.. to know I have that in me as part of myself even in a wd or drug induced state is alarming as bf drugs there is no way in hell I would ever ever... think of such things.  After this experience I fear for and from others who may be taking these drugs and act on the effects to hurt others maybe me maybe some I love or maybe strangers and I think we see a lot of it already that is never talked about. Nobody holds the light up and says hey wait a minute that guy who just shot three cops for no reason was taking a drug or was in wd do you think we need to do something about that?  They don't join the dots cause they don't believe us and those who do join the dots are ignored as they are not walking the "party" line politically.  So the only people who listen to them are the collective "WE" here and others like us. 

 

For you personally... I will say this will pass as you heal till then lie low... and don't watch crap... negativity and crime on tv... it is bad enough to have to deal with this without the triggers. 

 

You know the first experience I had with this was in the 90s after I had the prozac hell... I did not have a converter for my tv and I would literally run to the tv to change the channel or turn it off when a scary movie commercial came on... at the time I thought it was just proof I was mad... wide open to poor more drugs into my body. 

 

It is all bs... and as you heal it will fade for me it took a long time... but it did end. 

 

Confidence and trusting yourself and the world after this is done is another story. 

peace to you JD

 

ps I tried the Ted link... did not connect with me.. wish it had been something that would help but nope

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