Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum and would like to pose a question maybe someone could answer.
I have a very good friend who is 21 and have known for 2 years now. I'm 45 and unmarried. I know the age difference is significant but she looks up to me as a father figure since she grew up without a father or any other male figure in her household. She has been taking 12.5mg of Paxil daily for some time now for anxiety and occasional panic attacks. Lately, she's had obsessive thoughts about my hearing condition fearing that I dont hear her the way she hears herself. She tells me she cant stop thinking about this everytime she sees me. Now she tries to avoid me as much as possible and it really hurts because we have so much in common otherwise. Her mother and I have pleaded with her to go see a psychiatrist but she will not claiming stubbornly that if I get a hearing aid, her obsessive thoughts will go away. She's had other thoughts like this in the past, but eventually they went away when the object of her thoughts receded from her life. Is there anything or anyway I can convince her to go to CBT or other alternatives so that I can keep this wondeful friendship going? Does this sound like she might have OCD? TIA.
I'd like to add that she is fiercely against going to therapy because in her words, "they are gonna mess with my head" and make things worse. I think she's afraid they might diagnose schizophrenia or something. In the past when she has had to engage in a thought provoking conversation, she has told me afterwards that her head hurts and that she was overwhelmed. This is her reasons for not going places where there are a lot of people. And for the same reasons, she hardly watches TV or go to movies as well. She also is a homebody because of the way she might react or overreact if she is too far from home.
Last edited by jakemt; 07-20-2004 at 11:41 AM.
Reason: Additional Info
Your friend does not have OCD according to what you posted. She is having panic attacts which is an intense terror which comes on a person without warning and without any apparent relation to external circumstances. Although the attack may last only a few minutes the experience is excruciating. People with OCD have have recurrent unwelcome thoughts (obsessions) with repetitive behaviors designed to avoid a dreaded event(compusions). Compulsive rituals are related to the obsession. Repetitive washing is related to an obsession with germs or dirt. Compulsive checking is concerned with the fear of harming someone. She does not seem to be doing any ritual to relieve the hearing obsession, so thats why I dont think its OCD. She is most probably embarrased to talk to a doctor about her panic attacks, and is using the hearing aid story as a way of avoiding the doctor and confronting the panic attacks. Many people with panic attacks are to embarrased to admit it even to a doctor, and their condition gets worse.
Hi, I wouldn't be so quick to rule out the possibility of OCD. Of course, I am not a professional, but I can relate to your friend's symptoms. I do have OCD, and have had periods of time where I obsess over something and then that fades when something new that bothers me is brought into my environment, or even just into my mind.
I think it is safe to say that not everyone who has OCD has the same symptoms, the disorder may vary from person to person. It is not unheard of for people to have more than one anxiety - related disorder at a time.
I wish I could help you convince your friend to go to therapy, but I myself have only gone a couple times and am kind of scared to go again. I do hope your friend can eventually get the help she needs, and that your friendship doesn't end up suffering too badly.
I wouldn't rule OCD out either! Obssesive Compulsive Disorder, simply stated, someone has some type of obsession, then has a certain way to compuse about it, if they are unable to go thru with the compulsive behavior they are very likely to have an axiety/panic attack.
For instance: My obsession is 'thoughts' - my compulsion is to 'verbalize' them, if I don't I will have an aniexty/panic attack. (sounds nutty huh?)
Anyhow, I wish your friend would go talk to someone... maybe you can show her this board. I am so much happier now.... I am in control of my own mind again, and I love my life again!
jakemt said that she's obsessing about his hearing condition and her cumpulsion is the hearing aide. OCD is not always about a certain ritual, at least that's what the Dr. told me. It is an obsession then compulsion, everyone is different.
Last edited by mlachowicz; 07-20-2004 at 07:00 AM.
Some Rituals are harder to find or notice than others, she also could experience more of a pure obsessional type rather than someone with obvious rituals, some people even claim to have just obsessions and no rituals except that is being questioned more and more by the experts because of the wide range of compulsions that have now been identified. For example, mental rituals can be tough to notice without the guidance of a professional or the person sharing all of the information themselves. In her case, her not wanting to see him could be considered OCD Avoidance and that can in itself be a ritual, just like asking him to get a hearing aid could a ritual. Either one may be. Basically rituals are defined as behaviors or mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive. Sorry to talk about this like the person asking the question isn't involved in the thread. To the author and all- I have heard of some cases of obsessional thinking like this and they can be OCD. I think a professional, preferably an expert in Anxiety disorders is the only one who could really diagnosis this, because given the actual DSM criteria used to make a diagnosis of an Anxiety disorder it isn't always black and white, and after all the labels don't really mean anything, it's just a way of referring to the disorder. The underlying symptom is usually fear or Anxiety, just experienced in different ways. Also, many Panic Disorder sufferers, and other Anxiety disorder sufferers also have obsessional thinking at times even though they technically don't have OCD, and many OCD sufferers also get Panic Attacks at times. My point is it very well could be a form of OCD, or just a sub-clinical type of OCD that may or may not go away on it's own like her past situations you mentioned, or it could just be some type of manifestation of her Anxiety disorder but not technically OCD. Even people without an Anxiety disorder do get obsessional thoughts, or have their own little phobias or idiosyncrasies. I'm not an expert but I don't believe she is cracking up from what you mentioned, and I hope you and your friend can continue your relationship and that everything works out, I wish you all the best. Hopefully gently encouraging her to speak to a therapist or psychiatrist or even maybe research it on her own may be helpful.