Sex increases serotonin levels. OCD, like many anxiety disorders , is marked by low levels of serotonin.
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Symptoms of OCD can seemingly be alleviated through medication or sex. Sex or simple physical closeness can increase serotonin levels. In , University of Pisa psychiatrist Dr. Donatella Marazzati, in the journal Psychological Medicine, demonstrated OCD and the beginning of a romantic love share significantly lower serotonin elements. Love, pair bonding, and pathological conditions e. OCD, Paranoia can be related to the same neurological conditions. Serotonin levels return to normal after months from the beginning of the relationship.
For those clinically diagnosed with OCD, serotonin levels remain unchanged. With ERP the patient is not only exposed to their cues, their habitual response is prevented. For example a group of people obsessively worrying about germs were told to lick the banister of the subway and not engage in the compulsion of cleaning their mouths.
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The point of the exercise is to develop and then increase the patient's tolerance to germs. Getting some action seems like a more desirable plan of attack. During sexual activity dopamine ,"The Happy Hormone", is released. Dopamine stimulates desire and reward by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as cocaine.
With OCD, the intention of performing compulsive behaviors is to quell the anxiety provoking obsessive thoughts.
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Sexual intimacy can be used as a tool to rewire the neuropathway created when compulsions are used to extinguish obsessions. Cuddling could replace compulsively checking to see if the oven is off for fear of fire, thus creating a new and certainly more gratifying neuropathway when anxiety is triggered.
Having sex is a wonderful prelude to discussing OCD. A key hormone released during sex is oxytocin. Oxytocin lowers our defenses and makes us trust people more. It is also the key to bonding as it increases empathy.
Sexual activity can create a calm environment making it easier to disclose embarrassing personal information. Even a 20 second hug can leave us feeling happy and relaxed. Vulnerability brings people closer. Sharing details about your OCD enhances intimacy. Social psychology researcher Arthur Aron developed 36 questions designed to increase people's affinity for one another.
The point of the questions is to have sustained and escalating reciprocal self-disclosure.
International OCD Foundation | Living With Someone Who Has OCD. Guidelines for Family Members
Partners reported feeling connected and wanting to maintain their connection after listening to the answers without judgment. But she understands that I feel better after fixing them and she loves me for it. Despite my neuroses and annoying habits, I know that she loves me regardless. In a relationship, you learn to accept those things about your partner that might bother you from time to time. Perhaps love does conquer all—even a mild case of OCD.
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