We will look at marriage-stressed compulsions in this post. Take a look at the example below.
I begged him to stop worrying and start paying attention. When I told my therapist about the situation, she suggested we see someone who specialized in obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, which Mike and I were unfamiliar with. We thought we knew, but what we imagined was the movie version: frequent hand washing, turning on and off lights, and avoiding stepping on cracks. Those were not Mike’s issues. Furthermore, people frequently associate OCD with being a “neat freak.” With his piles of unfolded clothes, how could my forgetful husband possibly have OCD?
According to a specialist, Mike’s compulsions in our marriage were not neatness but safety, with a particular emphasis on contamination and poisoning. His compulsions were to conduct research and to seek reassurance. Like an addictive drug, the comforts became less effective with each repetition, so he needed more and more to overcome his fear. So every time I assured him everything would be fine, I was feeding his disorder.
What we discovered about OCD: Symptoms usually appear in childhood or adolescence, but they can appear in adulthood as well. Once symptoms appear, it can take years for people to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.
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Fortunately, the treatment can be extremely effective. We made a list of all of Mike’s stressed obsessions or compulsions in our marriage and ranked them in order at our first appointment with the specialist. Then, beginning with the easier ones, he began to confront his fears and sit with the discomfort.
He ate a berry that had not been washed. He tracked mud (and germs) into our front door. Furthermore, he also turned on our long-dormant wood stove. He worked with anti-anxiety medication to change his reaction to these and other situations that had previously rendered him immobile.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): What is it?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic mental illness characterized by obsessions, compulsions, or both. According to the American Psychiatric Association, approximately 2 to 3 percent of people in the United States have this condition.
Compulsions or repetitive, unwanted thoughts that prompt an extreme urge to repeat a specific behavior are typical symptoms of OCD. They then act out that urge, or compulsion, to alleviate the obsessive thoughts.
Many check to see if they’ve locked the front door or turned off the stove. It’s common to have superstitions, such as knocking on wood or wearing your favorite team’s jersey when they play. These habits may make you feel more secure but do not necessarily indicate OCD.
OCD Signs and Symptoms (Marriage-Stressed Compulsions)
Obsessions and compulsions are the two main types of symptoms associated with OCD. Many OCD partners have both stressed obsessions and compulsions in their daily lives, but some only have one or the other in their marriages.
These symptoms aren’t just passing through. Even milder symptoms can consume at least an hour of your time each day and significantly impact your daily activities. Obsessions or compulsions brought on by stress can impair your ability to pay attention and complete tasks at work or in your marriage. They may even prevent you from going to school, work, or elsewhere.
Marriage Stressed Compulsions
OCD-compulsive behaviors include the following:
- Hand, object, or body washing
- Arranging or aligning objects in a particular way
- Counting or repeating particular phrases
- A predetermined number of times touching something
- Seeking confirmation from others
- Collecting certain things or purchasing multiples of the same item
- Concealing objects that could be used to harm yourself or others
- Going over your actions mentally to ensure you haven’t harmed anyone else
Compulsions can be thought of as a reaction to obsessions. When an obsession arises, you may feel compelled to act to alleviate the anxiety and distress it causes or to prevent the obsessive thought from becoming a reality.
What Causes Marriage-Stressed Compulsions?
Experts aren’t sure what causes OCD, but a family history may play a role. If you have a close family member who suffers from marriage-stressed compulsions or OCD, you are more likely to develop the condition yourself.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the condition is associated with abnormal brain development and impairment in specific brain areas. Some evidence suggests that OCD affects how your brain responds to serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep, as well as many other vital functions in your body.
OCD Risk Factors or Marriage-Stressed Compulsions
Other factors can increase your chances of developing OCD or marriage-related compulsions if you are genetically predisposed to it.
These are some examples:
#1. Trauma or stress.
Significant stress at home, school, work, or in personal relationships can increase your risk of developing OCD or exacerbate existing symptoms.
OCD may be influenced by personality traits such as difficulty dealing with uncertainty, increased feelings of responsibility, or perfectionism. However, there is some disagreement about whether these are fixed traits or more malleable learned responses that can change.
#3. Childhood abuses
Children who have experienced abuse or other traumatic childhood experiences, such as bullying or severe neglect, are more likely to develop the condition.
#4. Childhood acute neuropsychiatric symptoms (CANS).
Some children develop OCD as a result of an infection. This syndrome is known as PANDAS after a streptococcal illness. PANDAS stands for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcus. However, symptoms can be caused by other infections or diseases.
#5. Traumatic brain injury.
According to a 2021 study, OCD symptoms may appear for the first time after a head injury.
However, it is possible to have a family history of OCD or marriage-related compulsions, as well as other risk factors, and never develop the condition yourself. Furthermore, people with no known risk factors can develop OCD.
Diagnosis of OCD
If you or your marriage is experiencing stressed obsessions or compulsions, a trained mental health professional can assist you in obtaining a diagnosis and exploring the best treatment options.
For approximately half of those with OCD, symptoms first appear in childhood. Because symptoms often appear gradually, they may not be apparent right away. Many people suffer from the condition for years before seeking help.
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Talking about OCD symptoms can be difficult, especially if you’ve tried before and been dismissed.
Perhaps you discussed an obsessive thought with your parent. “Don’t worry, that’s not going to happen,” they laughed and hugged you. Their loving dismissal, however, did nothing to alleviate the thought.
Treatment for Marriage-Stressed Compulsions
Connecting with a therapist who has experience treating OCD is a good place to start when looking into treatment options. Typically, OCD treatment will include both psychotherapy and medication.
A variety of psychotropic medications can help alleviate OCD symptoms. It can take up to 12 weeks for SSRIs to take effect, so continue taking your medicine even if you don’t notice any improvement immediately.
Mental health professionals typically recommend therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. The following therapies are recommended for OCD:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT can teach you how to recognize and reframe unwanted or negative thoughts and behavior patterns.
Exposure and response prevention (ERP).
This type of CBT entails gradually exposing oneself to feared situations or the concerns underpinning obsessions or compulsions. ERP teaches people how to manage the distress that habits cause without engaging in compulsive behaviors.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
This entails learning mindfulness skills to deal with anxiety caused by obsessive or compulsive thoughts.
Why are Marriage-Stressed Compulsions Harmful?
Stress-induced compulsions cause a person to fixate on things that aren’t important to their marriage or life. A compulsion can take over one’s life. One or both spouses may lose interest in the wedding due to this.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is most common in adolescence or early adulthood, but it can occur at any age. An obsession or compulsion can be triggered by a single event, such as a woman’s dream about her mother. OCD frequently involves rituals, such as constantly organizing things or washing hands.
Obsessive behavior is also detrimental because it can lead to depression. Addiction can also cause a person to feel anxious, worthless, restless, and tired. OCD was previously thought to be untreatable. For the rest of their lives, people lived with these thoughts. Medications and behavioral therapies are available to help people live as everyday life as possible while maintaining their relationships.
Seek Legal Help
While having hobbies and interests is beneficial, having too many can harm a relationship. Moderation is advised, and when something becomes an obsession, it can strain a marriage. Therapy can help if you or your spouse are struggling with an addiction. However, you must both be willing to work on your marriage. If not, divorce may be the solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are compulsions a symptom of anxiety?
Compulsions associated with OCD are repetitive behaviors that you feel compelled to perform. These repetitive behaviors or mental acts are intended to alleviate anxiety caused by your obsessions or to prevent something negative from happening. Compulsions, on the other hand, provide no pleasure and may only provide temporary relief from anxiety.
What are the most common compulsions?
Excessive cleaning and handwashing are common compulsions, as are repeated checks of doors, locks, appliances, and the like; rituals designed to avoid contact with superstitious objects. Chanting or praying to prevent bad things from happening; arranging and redistributing objects
What is it like to be married to someone with OCD?
In some cases, the partner of the person with OCD simply denies that the disorder exists, but in the majority of cases, spouses report that their loved one’s OCD has a significant impact on them. Spouses and other family members frequently report frustration, isolation, shame, and guilt.
How do you break a compulsion?
Regular exercise is essential. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment that aids in the management of OCD symptoms by refocusing your mind when obsessive thoughts and compulsions arise. Try to get 30 minutes or more of aerobic activity on most days for maximum benefit.