The All-Clear "Drug" OCD Sufferers Desperately Pursue
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A study I learned awhile ago showed how a person addicted to heroin would receive a high from the initial injection. This "high" simply means their feelings were elevated above what would be considered normal. Once the drug wears off they would become "low" feeling worse then what would be normal. With no action it would take some time for their feelings to level out and for their body to recalibrate. The alternative to waiting for recalibration was to inject themselves with heroin which not only brought them out of the low, but once again put them above normal feeling high once again. This was a quick fix to treat the low feelings thus starting the addiction. The problem is, the high isn't as high and each time the user would come off of heroin the low became even lower. Then it's not long until the person has to keep using just to try and feel "normal" to once again feel like life is bearable. Thereafter it's not long until the dose they are injecting isn't enough anymore to lift them up to "normal". So what do they do? They inject more to compensate. Then when that isn't as effective, they inject more still and with no course correction they eventually overdose in a desperate attempt to simply feel normal once again.


Since originally posting this article I have been contacted quite a few times and even met some sufferers in person and consistently the primary reason an OCD sufferer reaches out to me is because they want their fears doused, their anxieties dealt with, and their minds settled. To return to the life that's "normal", the life they had prior to when this OCD "infection" started. They contact me in search of a fix. Initially, with a history studying theology I was eager to provide them that fix, to help them douse their concerns and fears as is my heart's desire to do. The problem is I was going about it the wrong way. Quickly I saw a pattern where a person who's question were previously answered and anxieties settled were once again on my virtual (and real) door step looking for the same thing. Like an addict they wanted me to say the right words, do the right thing, anything that would put their mind at ease. After recognizing this pattern I realized I wasn't helping as much as I'd like to be but rather I became their drug dealer. Every time they needed an "all clear" fix they came to me and if what I said or did caused their brain to actually triggered an "all clear" it was like injecting them with heroin. While it would address the immediate pain, like any narcotic it would eventually wear off and they would come back, next time needing a larger dose to maintain that "all clear" feeling. The likeness to drugs is uncanny. Even if people returned with the same fears and anxieties, the same answers no longer had an impact. So often I would have to up my game in terms of diving deeper and reiterating biblical theology in multiple ways before they felt settled, until one day the "all clear" feeling would no longer come yet they would show up desperate for a solution that any amount of good solid reasoning and walking through scripture together wouldn't ease. So they go search elsewhere, they up their game, and essentially overdose in an attempt to once again return to what's feeling "normal". When I first was "infected" with OCD I wasn't much of a book reader. Within months however I had blazed through dozens and dozens of books, went to all the churches, submitted prayer requests for anyone offering, visited by elders, anointed with oil, phone calls with pastors. That wasn't all. I heard exercise helped with anxiety so I would randomly take off sprinting from my job site until I was exhausted and the moment I regained strength I would do it again (yes I was that desperate for a fix).


So what do we do?


What advice would you give a drug addict? Because of well documented studies on drug addiction we know from science as well as experience the best thing for a drug addict is to...stop taking drugs. The same is true for someone suffering with OCD. (Oh how I despised the advice from people to "get over it"). But hear me out. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is a process designed by man to help reprogram the brain. If you've been in therapy or done online research you're likely aware of CBT already. One thing I would like to note is that CBT, though it's a worldly tool it's process is backed by scripture. Romans 12:2 states " transformed by the renewing of your mind..." CBT essentially is to some degree agreeing with what God put in scripture thousands of years ago. The process of CBT is used to treat a variety of mental disorders. Specific to OCD it's a reprogramming that involves the sufferer abstaining from the rituals that their obsessions desire them to do. If your OCD causes you to repeatedly check doors then someone walking you through CBT would have you abstain from doing that no matter how much anxiety it causes you. Just like we would tell the addict to stop taking drugs no matter how bad the withdrawals are, a therapist guiding through CBT may tell you to abstain from your rituals no matter how bad the anxiety gets.

How does that work? We'll dive into that next.


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Have some feedback, insight, questions, comments, prayer requests, etc? Maybe you just want to share what God is doing in your life (I love praise reports), or maybe you can relate to some of the things here and need an ear. I'd love to hear from you!