Common Treatment Mistakes - Layers of OCD & AnxietyApr 30, 2021
Common Treatment Mistakes - Layers of OCD & Anxiety
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In this episode of our series entitled “the most common mistakes in OCD treatment”, we are going to discuss the concepts of getting stuck in the different layers of OCD & Anxiety.
If you’re suffering from OCD, you may ask yourself “how do my OCD thoughts develop?”. Many people also ask whether OCD is genetic or learned over time. So in this episode, I am going to share some triggering factors of OCD development and personality traits that may make OCD more likely.
Join me as I explain some of the most Common Treatment Mistakes for OCD Treatment. I hope this helps in your journey to overcoming OCD.
All right. Hey there. And welcome to another episode. Um, today we're going to talk about common mistakes that people make on their journey to recovery from OCD and anxiety. And for those of you that don't know me, my name's Matt Codde. I'm a licensed clinical social worker and I'm the founder of restored minds. And I specialize with OCD and anxiety recovery. And on this episode, the mistake that I want to talk about is the idea of giving into the, the second and third layers of the anxiety. Okay. And so let me go ahead and explain what I mean by that. Right? Cause obviously that's kind of a, it's an interesting way to say something and you know, without the context, it's not going to make sense. So give me a second just to kind of dive into it. So when it comes to OCD and anxiety recovery, we have this voice that's going on in our head.
Right. You know, and generally speaking, you know, this voice is, you know, just spouting out all these, what if thoughts? Right. And that's by its very nature. What OCD and anxiety, um, disorders, you know, kind of encompass, right. Is this, what if kind of thinking and what we need to realize about the, what if thinking is it's is our brain is there's this voice in our head is anticipating all these, you know, bad things in the future. And then we are experiencing a stress response in the present about those things in the future possibly happening. Right. That's what, by its very nature is that's what anxiety is. Right. And so the whole spectrum of anxiety disorders, whether it's, um, you know, phobias, social anxiety, um, you know, OCD, general anxiety, um, and even even PTSD and panic attacks. Right? So PTSD is a little different in the sense of that reoccurring image.
Um, but a lot of that is that fear of what if that image keeps popping up and you know, what if I, you know, have these feelings come up in this situation, so there's always components to this. What if kind of thinking, and this is really where we get trapped, right. Because when we take a, what if thought, and let's say we do the correct, um, response though, then the first layer of it, right. What we'll do is we'll stack on two or three or four more and then we give into those, right? So this is where a lot of us kind of fall off. And so for instance, let's say that we had a fear of, um, let's just use a fear of like a religious fear or some kind of existential or scrupulosity fear for this example. Well, what happens is, is these, what if thoughts will start, right?
And so the fear of like, you know, what if I committed, um, you know, a sin, right? And so what if I forget, commit to the unforgivable sin? What if I lost my salvation, something like that pops in the person's mind and they're able to use the tools, right? So, you know, over restored minds, we, we teach the AAA response, right? That's kind of our signature framework of like every time that thought pops up used AAA response. And, and, and it's a process that we teach people to follow again and again and again, and yes, there's a lot of nuances to this, but let's say that they're able to use that on the first attempt. And then what happens is, is then, then, and they actually don't engage in their compulsion so they don't engage in behaviors. Right. They don't, they, they, they are effectively doing ERP in the sense of preventing themselves from responding.
Right. Cause that's what ERP is, exposure and response prevention. We're exposing ourselves or experiencing the trigger and preventing ourselves from responding. Right. But that involves a lot of the mental behaviors that we engage in. So they're, they're able to do that first step. Right. But then what happens is the next, what if thought comes in? Right. And it says, well, you know, what, if you're being irresponsible, I mean, you know, a responsible person would actually seek an answer for this out. Right. Because even though they did it on the first thought, then the next thought comes in and the next thought comes in and what happens is then people give into their second and third thoughts and then they get frustrated because they spin out or, you know, or start worrying or obsessing about this, not realizing that that's just how that, that anxious, uh, voice works.
Right. It just is gonna throw, you know, one layer, two layers, three layers. And if you don't buy it on the first one, well, it's going to try to get you with the second and third and doing this process consistently through everything it throws at you as the way to effectively do this. Right. And so if we look at, you know, people who worry about their relationships, right. Well, you know, when you are talking about like, uh, you know, Oh my gosh. Like what if my partner, you know, has an affair on me one day? Or like, what if, um, you know, or, you know, what, if I fall out of love or something like that. Right. And then the person is able to use the correct, um, behavioral strategy on that one thumb. Well, the problem is is that then the voice will come in next.
And it's like, well, you know, you're not being a good, significant other spouse. If you don't really have an answer to this. And then it's like, okay, well you're being irresponsible. Or, you know, you're being a bad person. Or, you know, what, if I'm a bad person for not figuring this out right. And whatever that third or second, third and fourth layer is, that's where a lot of people get caught. And so the, the little nuance here that I want to talk about and that common mistake is giving into those, you know, the second, third, and fourth layers of the fear. Because again, if it doesn't get you with the first one it's going to keep trying. And so your consistency and persistence to keep using the tools throughout the different layers is paramount to your success. Because if it doesn't catch you with one thing, it's going to try something else and you have to be ready for that.
And you also have to be willing to really go through the whole layer, you know, whatever it wants to throw. It's like, you gotta be ready to use those tools no matter what. So, um, I know it's a very like subtle nuance, but I want to share this idea because, um, you know, I was talking about with a client recently in, you know, in our group program, um, and you know, this was like a light bulb moment for them. And, um, and that, and that's why I wanted to kind of make a quick little episode on this, because if this is something you struggle with, it's like, you need to know that those layers exist and that that's sometimes, you know, the thing that catches people. So hopefully that was helpful. And, um, you know, I hope that, um, you're able to use this on your journey and, you know, for those of you that are looking for additional resources and additional support we have [email protected], um, you know, this is what we do right.
Day in, day out. And, um, so we have our, you know, our programs. We also have additional free trainings and downloads to support you on your journey. So I have some right down in the links, um, beneath here in the notes. And so please check those out, click on them, head over to the, um, restored minds and, you know, claim them and go through them because you know, we, we really are here to support you on this journey. So thank you so much for taking the time to hang out today. Um, wish you guys a great week and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode, take care.