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Relieve obsessive-compulsive disorders and tics with relaxation exercises
"Have I locked the front door?", "Is the stove really off?": These and similar thoughts keep going through the mind of some people. They have to constantly check something. Repetition and control constraints or cleaning rituals can indicate an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Among other things, those affected can help relaxation exercises.
Over two million Germans affected
According to the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Neurology (DGPPN), around 2.3 million people in Germany suffer from the symptoms of OCD every year. “Obsessive-compulsive disorder is associated with great suffering: those affected often spend several hours a day trying to comply with their constraints. As a result, they can no longer cope with a normal daily routine and become unable to act, ”the experts write in a message. The right therapy can help those affected sustainably. Relaxation exercises also play a role here.
Massive impairments in everyday life
As the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry explains on its website, the main symptoms of an obsessive-compulsive disorder are unwanted recurring thoughts and actions that are experienced as senseless or excruciating, and which occur in individual patients in different forms and combinations.
"These so-called obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions can lead to a massive impairment of daily life," said the experts.
According to the information, obsessive thoughts are mostly described as completely senseless by those affected, for example counting constraints, but occasionally they also have sexual, religious or aggressive content.
There are also fears of infections caused by germs or dirt as well as strong disgust at body excretions. Forced injuries are then observed in those affected.
Processes must be repeated continuously
According to the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, obsessive thoughts are perceived as own thoughts, but at the same time as involuntary and often repulsive.
As the experts explain, coercive acts are operations that have to be repeated over and over again. However, these actions are neither perceived as pleasant nor do they serve the fulfillment of useful tasks.
For some affected patients, the compulsive act becomes a compulsory ritual, which often has to be carried out for hours in a detailed manner, sometimes combined with indecisiveness and slowing down.
Typical compulsory acts relate to personal hygiene (e.g. unnecessarily frequent and prolonged hand washing), checking (excessive and repeated checking of door locks, stovetops, taps, etc.), touching (objects must be touched or may not be touched) or hoarding ( Collecting worthless or used items).
The compulsive acts are often experienced as a prevention against objectively highly improbable events that harm the patient or in which they could cause harm themselves.
Exact causes are still unclear
In most cases, obsessive-compulsive disorder begins in childhood or early adulthood. The exact causes of the disease are not yet known.
"However, research results indicate that there are changes in brain systems that regulate the execution of repetitive steps," reports the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry.
"A frequent occurrence in affected families indicates a genetic predisposition," write the experts.
However, this does not mean that the disease also regularly occurs in the biological relatives of the sick. "Psychological factors and stress may favor the occurrence and form of the disease."
Affected people often hide their illness
Many sufferers conceal their illness for a long time. According to the DGGPN, it takes an average of "ten to fifteen years for patients with OCD to seek professional help."
If an obsessive-compulsive disorder has been diagnosed, behavioral therapy alone may be sufficient if the symptoms are mild.
"If the symptoms are more pronounced, behavioral therapy and drug therapy must be combined," explains the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry.
According to DGPPN board member Professor Fritz Hohagen from Lübeck, it is known that "affected patients receive the right therapy in the long term".
Obsessive-compulsive disorder also have some things in common with so-called tic disorders.
"The main symptoms of the tic disorder are motor and vocal tics, which can be divided into simple and complex tics," says the information portal "Neurologists and Psychiatrists on the Net".
According to experts, the tics occur under tension and serve no specific purpose. It is estimated that up to 15 percent of all elementary school students develop tics temporarily.
“Tics show a strong tendency to disappear on their own. However, if they persist for more than 1 year, one speaks of a chronic tic disorder, ”explains the children and adolescent psychiatry of the Dresden University Hospital on their website.
Then clarification with a specialist is recommended.
Relieve pressure with relaxation exercises
According to experts, relaxation exercises such as yoga or autogenic training can help with obsessive-compulsive disorder as well as with tics.
If those affected feel a "feeling of anticipation", they can counter this by tightening their fists, reflecting and diverting the energy in other ways.
Mindfulness exercises can also help relieve pressure. (ad)