OCD and Headaches

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Dear Therapist, I would like to have some advice. I’m only 15 years old and very mature for my age. but thats not what i need advice about. I’m too young to be worrying about my life the way I do. i have a very good body image and I try to keep it that way as best as i can. a little too much. I believe I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Dissorder. I havent really been able to admit it to myself or anyone around me. I believe I’ve had it for maybe two years or so, but its gotten worse over time. It starts with waking up. If i dont sit up a certain way that doesnt make me comfortanle, I lay back down. I go down stairs to eat my breakfast. if i dont see something i like on TV i have to blink 10 times or until im confortable to get the image out of my mind. in school, i cant sit on chairs without whiping it off 5 times because if i dont, i think ill get fat. i can’t touch doorknobs because im afraid ill get sick from the germs. If i smell something bad, or something i dont like, i have to “push out” the bad scent out of my nose three times and breathe in “good smells” once or twice. My friends notice that I’ve been acting strange but i usually cover it up by saying like my nose itches or there were crumbs on the seat. Its really hard for me to live with and i am soo frustrated from it. Im only a sophmore in High School. I should be worrying about school. i strongly think my grades are suffering from it too. i Already see a therapist because my mom thinks im have anger problems. but i can never bring up the guts to tell her about my suffering. What im asking is to know that I’m not the only one whos going threw this or if I’ve diagnosed myself correctly. Ive researched it and all signs point to OCD. But i also am angry all the time towards my mother. she grosses me out but i cant control it. when im around her my ‘habits’ act up. but theyre more like natural reactions than habits. I dont know if medication will help with these problems or if i need sleep or if its stress. I really need some advice because i hate living like this. Am I going crazy? (life at home) My mom some times goes a little crazy or acts stranger than usual. she yells at me than apologizes. it gives me whipelash. i know she sees a therapist and i just hope that craziness isnt heretitary. can living with someone make you sick of them? even if their your own mother? and my father is an alcholic. but he has been 7 months sober. i am the middle child and i get along fine with my siblings. although my brother often gets annoyed with me because of my breathing habits. they annoy him. I also have severe headaches. Sometimes they give me excrutiating pains and sometimes they are dull. I also feel depressed and sad all the time. I try to act happy when im around my friends but i want to feel truely happy. Im usually in my room all day after school breathing in and out in certain ways, trying to reset the “bad germs” that i have breathed in. (im sorry if ive confused you). I had a concussion in the past but im not sure if ive fully healed, or its all in my head. i get weird head aches in the front of my mind when im doing my rituals and it throws off my day. sometimes i dont feel like im in my body/mind. i feel like im always tired and i feel like im always asleep. and i dont feel my emotions to the fullest. sometimes i dont feel any emotions. its hard to explain. but i just need some advice. Im handeling this all on my own and Im not sure WHAT to do. i keep a journal of everything that goes on and it makes me more depressed. im not sure if you know what im asking or not. but please help me if you can!

A. You are currently seeing a therapist. That is good but you are making a mistake by withholding important information. This makes it difficult for the therapist to help you. You do seem to have some of the symptoms of OCD but only your therapist can determine a diagnosis with certainty.

My other concerns are your headaches and the possibility of an existing concussion. I would recommend reporting these symptoms to your mother immediately. She needs to know about the headaches so she can relay this information to your primary care physician. The majority of people occasionally experience headaches. That is normal but your headaches seem unusual because they are associated with OCD rituals. This needs to be reported to a physician. It is important to determine the nature and cause of your headaches.

The next steps for you are clear: speak to your therapist about your OCD symptoms and meet with a physician about your headaches. Your therapist can help you with the OCD but not if he or she is unaware of the problem. OCD tends to be a progressive disorder which is why it is important that is treated sooner rather than later. I hope that my answer helps you to proceed correctly. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to write again. Good luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Nov 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). OCD and Headaches. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/11/06/ocd-and-headaches/