Sup­port group help for OCD suf­fer­ers

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Booragoon -

WHEN:

INFO: MANY of us have prob­a­bly com­plained about the strange habits of some­one we know, or even our own; the need for spot­less kitchen benches and colour-coded socks draw­ers.

But what about those who re­ally do have ob­ses­sive com­pul­sive dis­or­der (OCD)?

For them, it’s not a flip­pant mat­ter but a life­time man­ag­ing a po­ten­tially de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tion.

Attadale ad­min­is­tra­tion as­sis­tant Matthew Charl­ton co­or­di­nates a Con­nec­tGroups/ Men­tal Ill­ness Fel­low­ship WA sup­port group south of the river in Boor­a­goon, which he said had helped many with the con­di­tion cope bet­ter over the past 12 months.

Ac­cord­ing to be­yond­blue, the anx­i­ety dis­or­der is characterised by ob­ses­sions or com­pul­sions (acts per­formed to al­le­vi­ate the dis­tress or neu­tralise a thought), or both.

While Mr Charl­ton (32) has been lucky enough to only lose days and not weeks or months to his own unique dis­or­der, he knew of oth­ers who had be­come largely house­bound, trapped in a cy­cle of check­ing lights, elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances and locks as a re­sult of fear or safety anx­i­ety.

He said the big­gest dan­ger was for peo­ple to go un­di­ag­nosed and un­treated for years, as he had.

“I first no­ticed it when I was 12 or 13 with very small, iso­lated in­ci­dents but it be­came more ob­vi­ous and diffi- cult in my 20s when I was study­ing at uni­ver­sity,” Mr Charl­ton said.

“OCD is anx­i­ety driven, brought on by ris­ing stress lev­els and emo­tions, and if the symptoms are not well man­aged they can be­come crip­pling.”

Apart from seek­ing early di­ag­no­sis, the help and fel­low­ship of a con­fi­den­tial and safe en­vi­ron­ment like the sup­port group, Mr Charl­ton rec­om­mended the mantra Act Be­long Com­mit – tak­ing ac­tion to im­prove men­tal health and well­be­ing – with regular ex­er­cise a vi­tal in­gre­di­ent.

Mr Charl­ton en­sures he ex­er­cises at least five times a week to keep his mood-lift­ing en­dor­phin lev­els topped up.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey

Sup­port group co-or­di­na­tor Matthew Charl­ton.

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