Monday, 30 January 2012

OCD- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a life disrupting anxiety disorder that involves the person having obsessive thoughts (like repeatedly doing wudu). It sadly affects many people, and  many people either do not know that they have it, or don’t know its cure.

It is a waswasa (insinuation) from shaytan, and it should be thought of as that way by the victim. S/he should constantly remind him/herself of that when fighting the OCD/shaytan, and that such thoughts have no basis in Islam, or in the person, nor any evidence. Attribute the thoughts to shaytan.

One should constantly try one’s best to fight such thoughts and to not act upon them. If one cannot fully resist the compulsion, one should still fight it.

Even a reduction in you acting upon the compulsion is an improvement. You can gradually reduce the OCD over time, until it eventually goes away insha’Allah.

You should never give up, and you should remember that you will defeat the shaytan insha’Allah! Despair and the loss of hope is from shaytan.

Try to have one or more close friends who can help you, and whom you can call when you are having the OCD thoughts. It helps to have a support group of good friends. They can use their reason to convince you that your thoughts are from shaytan and are not based on evidence. They can also make you stop acting on the OCD (such as preventing you from doing wudu repeatedly). This helps to convince you that the OCD is not sensible, and is from shaytan.

Cognitive behaviour therapy is a treatment of used, and has a high success rate, and involves short term displeasure, but long term relief. This is done by getting used to the anxiety cause, without performing the compulsion. So for example if one has OCD where one thinks that one is not clean, and feels the urge to wash again, then one should resist the compulsion and get used to the anxiety. Eventually the person will realise that s/he is clean, and that the unclean thoughts are harmless and baseless insha’Allah.

When OCD thoughts strike, one should also distract oneself by doing other things immediately such as: 

1)      Remember that Islam is about balance, and these thoughts are extreme, and thus from shaytan, not from Islam

2)      Focus on something that uses or relaxes your mind, such as a puzzle, or some game

3)      Don’t react to the thoughts, don’t be anxious, don’t be distressed

4)      When unwanted thoughts creep in your mind, catch them and write them down.  Right below the thought, challenge the thought by asking if that is a true thought.  Is it 100% true about you?  Below that write down,
“it’s just a thought”.

5)      Practice daily affirmations such as “I’m doing the best that I can”, “My thoughts are just thoughts and only have power over me if I give them power and I choose not to empower these unwanted thoughts”, “I put my trust and faith in Allah’s mercy and forgiveness”.  The affirmations might not feel true for you but repeating them daily will help you replace the negative thoughts with the positive affirmations, thereby lessening the power of the negative unwanted thoughts.

6)      Practice deep breathing exercises and repeat to yourself “I am safe and with Allah’s blessings, Shaitan can’t hurt me”.

7)      Actively get involved in a deeply engrossing activity that you enjoy such as exercising (yoga, running, biking, etc.) or playing a board game where you are not focused on the negative thoughts.

8)      Force yourself to smile.  This simple act will automatically make you feel happier and relax.  Your mind is incapable of having a good and bad thought at the same time.  When you smile, you force your mind to focus on the positive rather than the negative.

Three good articles on the topic are:


1 comment:

  1. I’m posting this link as it might help the sufferers and their family members understand OCD better, in sha’ Allah.