OCD or Change in Behavior Pattern After Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Per, Jan 5, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Anyone noticed a change in context of repetitive behavior after T onset? I feel my T has created a significant change in my behavior pattern and I'm always looking for some stress relief. It's like the brain is always "spinning" on high gear, like a computer hard drive trying to store information. To be able to handle the stress of my constant T it seems like I need to keep my brain activity in fifth gear, it's not enough to just occupy myself with one thing. My attention span has also reached a very short level, when I for instance read a news article my eyes keep wandering to a different section after a few seconds, way before I have read the article. So I need to start over again many times. I have also noticed an increased negative sexual energy, meaning having to find sexual release by myself all the time. I feel that I'm monitoring my sexual energy. I say negative cause it's not voluntary, it's something that I HAVE to do or else my body feels overloaded with stress and negative force. I think it's because I'm frenetically trying to decrease my physical stress levels cause my mind is going overdrive. Almost like my brain is cooking. It's been ages since I felt comfortable in my body, it's been so much pain. When I got T it just went overboard and I didn't think I would ever be friends with my physique again.

      Just to illustrate I have probably read this post seven times now to make sure I haven't made any misspellings, it's like I really need to get things right. No room for errors or mistakes. I feel that I'm developing OCD and that T has made it escalate. Anyone here that shares the same experiences?
       
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    2. mick1987
      No Mood

      mick1987 Member

      Location:
      UK (England)
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I know what you mean about the brain shifting thoughts rapidly, it's like the mind can't be still, calm etc. I do find that my attention span has reduced a lot also, I'm the same with reading newspapers, before when I had mild tinnitus I would read every article that I wanted to read, from start to finish, sometimes I would read almost everything that is in the paper. Now though my tinnitus has increased I only read the headlines not the actual article, before I would spend an hour reading the newspaper, now though I scan over it in about 2 minutes (hope yourstill reading this and your not reading another post...LOL.) I find it uncomfortable to slow my brain down, always trying to keep myself distracted, i hope I can get my attention span back...it sucks at the minute.
       
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    3. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      I can tell you this, my parents, aged 75 are on the GO all the time. And when you go in their house, the TV is always on kinda loud. Sometimes they ask about the cotton in my ears then my mom tells me about the 'ocean' sound in her head then my dad says, "It's like a fire engine coming down the street." They both have T. And with that said, they're telling me a story. They're up and going and when they're not they've got the stereo or TV on. They both love to read, too. I know they both are subconsciously working their way around tinnitus and I have to say they are both a success at habituation. They almost seem obsessed about something.
      As far as clinical OCD goes. It can come and go. There is very good medicine for it and who knows ... it may help your tinnitus.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    4. NeoM
      Moonlighting

      NeoM Member

      Location:
      America
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/31/2013
      It's stress, anxiety, or depression related. I remember at certain times in my life being so stressed that I tried to read a book and I can barely get through the first sentence because my mind was racing about other stuff.
       
    5. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      The only thing I seem to be able to concentrate completely on is T related stuff, cause thats become such a large part of me. The word racing is very accurate. That captures the essence of how I fell. It's like having a mad wasp chasing you but its not there, it's the invincible force of stress and panic.

      When I enter a shop, like a food store or a sports store, my eyes can't focus on just one product but goes scanning rapidly trough all the sections and shelves, like I'm not able to focus or concentrate. While I do this my head is bursting from the overload of ideas and taught processes. Wish I could sit down in lotus position and mediate like a well balanced Indian guru, but my body is in this constant fight or flight mode, trying to solve stuff all the time. This was way less problematic prior to T, after onset of T&H it's been ten times worse.

      Another behavior pattern thats been increased in strength after T is checking to see if the product or service I'm about to pick is 100% perfect for my purpose. If I'm looking to buy a mobile phone I read all the reviews, talk to the staff 4-5 times in a week etc. Always repeating the process until I know that I'm making the right choice. It's this constant stress of compulsory behavior that escalated after T. Perhaps I think that I'm close to dying or something cause T was the final drop, the thing that made me understand my vulnerability. I feel obsessive cause everything now is all about avoiding failure and getting things right.
       
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    6. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      I feel for ya.
      There are many medical conditions that display these behaviors. I think you need a good professional of some kind to get to the bottom of this.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    7. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      @I who love music,

      Have you heard of any specific medication against OCD? Whenever I do benzo meds my mind mellows somewhat, but it's not the right thing to consume in the long run. Does anyone know anyone with OCD related issues here?
       
    8. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      What made you come out of it? And what caused the stress reaction? I take from how you write that you don't have these exact stress related issues now.
       
    9. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      You know, @Per: I have felt a little like you describe above, in terms of the attention wandering and re-checking things, although not as extreme as you mention.

      It's interesting: As you may (or may not) know, I had a very severe panic attack/anxiety response to my tinnitus shortly after it emerged following a long-distance airplane flight and barotrauma. I had no prior history of an anxiety disorder, but had been under a tremendous amount of stress at work over the past two, three years.

      Anyway, I immediately started treating the emotionally/psychological part of T as well as the ear/brain physical part (I never again want the misery of rolling panic attacks). And both my psychiatrist and my cognitive behavioral therapist (CBT) suggested I had a touch of OCD, and probably had for years. Not the extreme kind, where I was constantly washing my hands or developing rituals to recheck things. But I just tended to hang on and revisit things a little more than I should.

      I initially questioned their diagnosis but turns out, I now think they probably are right. The OCD didn't cause my anxiety but I needed to keep it in mind when working on getting my anxiety under control. CBT helped me tremendously. I continue to work hard at controlling my stress level, letting go of things rather than obsessing about them, and developing self-statements that help me shut down anxiety reactions when I feel them rising. I also remain on medication, a very low dose of alprazolam (Xanax, a benzo) I have been taking since last June-July, although now am slowly working myself off them.

      Probably the best post I wrote on how I dealt with anxiety was here, on this thread to McGee. Here's the link, no need to repeat it:
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/please-help-very-scared.1976/#post-17239

      But you can ask me any other questions you want to.
      BTW: A bit of OCD isn't completely a bad thing. Us types do tend to be creative, hard workers, intent on doing a good job.
       
    10. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      I have the same thing as per. Although it seems like its ocd, its not organic ocd, if today our t went away, this compulsive behavior will stop like it never happened.
      Going on tinnitus forums is also a form of ocd. I never ever knew what a forum was prior to tinnitus - it never interested me in spending time online.
      Seems like our brains are frantically seeking a distraction from our tinnitus and rapid attendtion switching is the result. I would say that our behaviour resembles more an ADHD than OCD. The reason you are asking 4-5 times is because your attention/concentration is compromised and you naturally feel that you don't want to make a mistake.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    11. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Interesting, @dan. I often wonder if my tinnitus stopped tomorrow, would my anxiety go away, given I at least did not have the symptoms before? Gee, wouldn't it be great if I some day get to find out! :)
       
    12. Hudson
      Cowboy

      Hudson Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      I guess to me that is the most depressing, scary thing about tinnitus. That it's just going to get worse and worse until it's like a "fire engine coming down the street." How are you supposed to habituate to something you know will get inevitably worse over time? How are you supposed to be OK with that? My tinnitus will be so loud someday it will drown out everything I hear, and the doctor will tell me "it's ok you can learn to live with it." Bah
       
    13. mick1987
      No Mood

      mick1987 Member

      Location:
      UK (England)
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Has your tinnitus increased since getting it Hudson? How loud is your tinnitus?
       
    14. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      @LadyDi,

      Thanks for the input. I've actually been to my local library to pick up some books on breathing techniques and stress management, the next step is to concentrate and read them. I've had a history of panic attacks but its been ten years since I really struggled with it, at worst I was really ill and when I had the very first attack I remember being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance on vacation cause they all thought I was having a heart failure, pulse was very rapid. Even the emergency staff believed I was having a heart attack cause they gave me nitroglycerin and had an EKG machine attached to me in the ambulance. So panic attacks can be really traumatic. It's funny you should mention creative people or hard working achievers, cause I can really relate to that. My upbringing was tuff and strict, there was no room for mistakes and I was brought up to obey perfection. My career is within the creative disciplines.

      The constant reassurance thing has become worse since T, it's as I'm terrified of making mistakes and daily routines have become more obsessive like. I'm walking in circles, afraid of everything new. It's like I'm holding on to everything I know how to handle or manage, inside me there's like this tense and irrational nerve block, like I have energy to release without being able to release it. I think that's why I'm always looking for stress relievers, but I'm not able to find them. So then I end up eating like mad one day and starve myself for three days as punishment, or sit alone watching the same youtube stuff over and over. Last month I actually watched people showing their private Christmas decorations for 8 hours every day for three days! I couldn't get my mind off it and didn't want to relate to anything else. It became my safe zone.

      How large doses of Xanax are you on at the moment? My dose is 0.5mg about every other day. I also take 20/25mg of Stilnoct when I'm not on the benzo's. I've actually been up to 30mg as well so I need to come off for a while now.
       
    15. Hudson
      Cowboy

      Hudson Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2003
      Yes my tinnitus has gotten louder. It started out as being fairly faint and I was only aware of it in a very quiet room (although I could hear it over almost anything, if I concentrated on the sound, because it's such a high pitched static sound). The only times it has become louder has been when I have been around loud sounds without hearing protection. So I guess in that regard I can blame myself. However, noise is not the only inducer of hearing loss. Time itself causes hearing loss. Presbycusis is hearing loss due to old age. Whether that is hearing because of old age, or because of a lifetime of the cumulative effects of noise pollution is anyone's guess. Genetics almost certainly factors into it.
       
    16. Riikka

      Riikka Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2007
      I can relate to some of the things you are mentioning, I notice some of those things you mentioned in myself. I feel I'm having a hard time just sit down and do nothing. I usually always need to be doing something, if there is nothing else to do than surf online or listen to music. I also feel I'm occupying myself too much which details about things I should be doing and in what order or about what I need to buy from the shop. I agree with Dan that that's probably a way to distract my mind from the tinnitus. I'm actually waiting for the moment when I able to just sit down and have a cup of tea or to knit without simultaneously watching TV or listening to music. But I just don't feel able to do that yet :(

      I also read Per that keeping hyperactive can be a compensating reaction when you are basically feeling too tired or exhausted. When sitting down or focusing on one thing you would feel too tired, so the mind tries to compensate this by raising alertness by doing several things simultaneously.
       
    17. mick1987
      No Mood

      mick1987 Member

      Location:
      UK (England)
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I've read a few cases of tinnitus staying the same even when people have had progressive hearing loss (old age). So I don't think it getting worse is all down to hearing loss, my tinnitus increased from sudden loud noise but I have not lost any hearing. But anyway I used to torture myself with thought that one day I will have tinnitus that will be that loud I won't be able to hear much else but that is worst case scenario, it could stay the same, it could get better, it might even disappear if your luckily, but even if it does get worse there is always the hope of habituation, I've read of people who have severe tinnitus but because they have habituated, the noise no longer bothers them. I prefer thinking that way instead of the way I used to think, tormenting myself about the future, we never know, in 10years time there might be a cure.
       
    18. NeoM
      Moonlighting

      NeoM Member

      Location:
      America
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/31/2013
      When that happened it was relationships or school. School was pretty bad because I would procrastinate and have 5 things due the next day. Fortunately, it was math stuff so it wasn't like writing a 5 page paper.

      Once those issues were resolved I went back to normal.

      I wouldn't read too much into hearing loss or anything. There are people with with no hearing loss that have it, there are people with hearing loss that don't have it, and there are even profoundly deaf people that don't have it. We really don't know the cause.

      Think of this way...you habituated to tinnitus before, right? Well...why can't you again? You've read stories about people with loud tinnitus that have habituated so you know it's possible. Stay positive.
       
    19. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Hi Per, I am sorry you are going through this. Anxiety is so damn physically uncomfortable, I had no idea until it happened to me. I would not wish panic attacks on my worst enemy. My psychiatrist said he thinks its as close to feeling like you are dying that people can get.

      So I think, like others have said here, that a lot of what you are going through with focusing, etc is a reaction to the tinnitus. But it seems like there is a lot of anxiety thrown in there, too. And anxiety-related disorders include OCD and panic attacks. Are you getting any help from the mental health end? Psychotherapy? Are you seeing a psychiatrist for your meds or just getting them from a primary care physician? My personal opinion is you really need qualified mental health professionals to treat anxiety, even if it comes from tinnitus.

      .5 mg of Xanax every other day is kind of an odd dose. Are they weaning you off higher doses? Standard adult dose is the .5 mg pill, typically two or three times a day. Ultimately, you get to the point that you take it only "as needed," when you feel the anxiety. Also, Xanax is very fast acting but leaves your body very quickly. So at your level, you are getting about six-seven hours of coverage every 48 hours.

      I am assuming you are on the Stilnoct for sleep? We don't seem to have that drug here in the US but I see its a form of Zolpidem... which is Ambien here. Ambien is a hypnotic that has gotten a very bad rep here. People have been known to do all kinds of crazy things on it, like drive and eat when they are asleep. I took it very briefly and it made me feel awful. There might be better choices.

      Re. my Xanax: I can take a maximum of .25 mg tabs up to three times a day, which is a pediatric dose, for a daily total of .75 mg. I find I usually take no more than .5 mg daily. But my issue is that my doctor also has me taking another .50 to .75 at night, as I was having panic attacks in my sleep. I have been on the med for about six months, and we are working toward other solutions, as it is not designed for long-term use. I am starting to use Rozerem for sleep, which is a form of melatonin and not addicting, and it seems to be helping. We also are looking at other anxiety meds for daytime use that might be longer lasting and not as addicting. Don't know. Juggling psychotropic meds is tricky, which is why you need a good psychiatrist who is willing to work with you.

      I really would look for an alternative tothe Stilnoct, and find both a psychiatrist and psychologist to help with the anxiety. Good luck. Sorry for the long post.
       
    20. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      I have been taking Xanax on and off for the past 17 years so I'm wathcing my dose trying to keep it low. I actually used to take 4 times my current dose back in the day. If I take breaks 0.5mg is ok for me now, I never take benzo's before eight at night and I never take more than one dose one time, meaning I never follow up by taking more the same night. For over a year I never experienced any problems with Zolpidem but lately it has made me do some weird stuff if I exceed 15/20mg, strange you should mention that cause just 30 minutes ago I discovered that I had been up eating last night without knowing it all. I had consumed a large box of walnuts and a container of sourcream, an odd combo. I had put the empty containers back in the shelf.

      I used to take Xoplicone, aka Imovane. That gave a bad taste of metal in my mouth and drowsiness for days, but I never experienced weird behavior on them. I'm going to ask my GP to switch, normally we have to negotiate on sleep med as he's not that keen on prescribing that.

      I went to therapy many times for my anxiety, last time was 2012 actually. It's been on and off cause finding physiologist with room in the schedule book is hard! Normally it can be 6 months waiting time and that's hopeless when your caught inside an anxiety situation. It can arrive abruptly. I've never been to a psychotherapist but I've been to a psychiatrist a couple of times, that was straight after the ambulance episode. Phyciatrist are more clinical in my mind, psychologist are more cognitive is my impression. It's been some time since I've experienced severe attacks now. It has developed more like a constant stress/worry/fear thing. The kind that wears you down over time. The once I used to have when I became acute ill was more like the "help I'm gonna die!" type of panic with rapid pulse and poor eyesight, like tunnel vision.
       
    21. Smoogle
      Wishful

      Smoogle Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      I've had OCD since I was a kid. Had it very bad at ages 11-12. Mr. T has ramped it up to overdrive levels though, both back during my onset and again now.

      Though going through it again almost provokes a sense of derealization when I'm not actively anxious. Like my mind has decided things are so bad that I'm living in sort of a third person mode. During my good days I'm not like this, but on a bad day like today... just wish I could feel normal again.

      Incidentally, Tinnitus support forums are the only support forum I've ever been inclined to join, as well. It amazes me that an estimated 50 million Americans have T, yet there are probably around 10,000 people that have joined any T support board *ever*.
       
    22. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      @Smoogle;

      How does your OCD work? Do repeat strategies or feel that you have this urge to explode from inner energy that you can't seem to be able to canalize? Do you analyze stuff much and do have problems in focusing on one thing at the time? Like looking at just one item in a store, thinking about just one thing or constantly monitoring how other people characterize you or judge you?
       
    23. Smoogle
      Wishful

      Smoogle Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2011
      I suppose right now it's mostly manifesting itself as restlessness. I can barely make it through a TV show without feeling like I've got to get up and leave and do something else. T is constantly on my mind as a "problem" that needs to be "solved". I'm not at the point yet where I can really make peace with what's happened. I'm fortunate in that I get respite every now and then, but even during those periods I'm still anxious about when it's going to come back in full force. Like being in the eye of a hurricane waiting for the storm to come again.

      Like you, the only thing I feel like I can focus in on with a strange amount of concentration is posting on and reading T forums. Maybe because it feels like somehow I'm doing something peripherally related to T that might get me some relief from it, even if it's just on a social or a ritualistic level. Part of me is in conflict, because I want to get relief from this as soon as possible, but I also don't want to accept it as remaining at this level.

      Would it be ironic if I told you that I was actually very sensitive to how I thought people were judging me before, and now I don't give a crap? T is worse than just about anything anyone can tell me to hurt my feelings.
       
    24. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      Gosh Per, I obviously told you much of what you already know in terms of anxiety and Xanax. You have more experience with it than me. My apologies.

      I think a psychologist might be really helpful and you are right, its very different than a psychiatrist. In a perfect world, they work with you together as a team. But it sounds like getting appointments is very difficult in Scandinavia. With CBT, you need to go weekly in the beginning and you need to give it time to work.

      I also no longer have true panic attacks, between the medication and being able to shut them down with the self statements and breathing my therapist taught me. But I do feel this low level of anxiety pretty regularly and you are right, it's very draining.
       
    25. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      There are many therapists here that have a refund system with the governments, so all you do at those clinics is to pay a small amount of your own money, the government covers the rest over the tax bill. Then you have the totally private market dealing the road above so to speak, with very high fees of course. So getting to a therapist that has that refund deal with the state is harder cause their always full.

      But as for now my goal is osteopathy treatment, Im having my first next week, he said he been working with T sufferers as well, due to somatic issues and physical stress in the face, neck, breast etc.
       
    26. RicoS
      Confused

      RicoS Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress or Acoustic trauma
      This is an old post but I developed bad OCD after T. Now my T seems way less but I am stuck with the Sensorimotor OCD. They say you need to treat it with ERP (Exposure Respond Prevention) and medication (Lexapro)..... Now I am willing to do this only the side-effects from Lexapro is tinnitus so I am scard to go that road :dunno:.. So what to do?..... I know I have to deal with it on my own just like T, but I wanted people to know that I also developed OCD after T...I think I had it a bit before T , but now it is severe and just when I thought I was passed it it came back.
      I guess it is all about the proces of letting go....you have to let T go and also these sensorimotor OCD symptoms
      :banghead:
       
    27. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      I'm on lexapro. I don't think it affects my T one way or another. The chances are very small.
       
    28. RicoS
      Confused

      RicoS Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress or Acoustic trauma
      I have got Mirtazapine to try first because it did not had Tinnitus as side-effect but for OCD and S-OCD they say you need Lexapro , Zoloft of Paroxetine. Lexapro was by far the best one.

      I did not start Mirtazapine yet and my GP is on holiday so perhaps when he is back in a week I ask for Lexapro and just start with that.

      Does Lexapro has a good effect on you btw? I must be honest I'm very scared to take meds, but to get rid of severe S-OCD you almost a forced to together with ERP (Exposure Response Prevention) ..... It almost like dealing with T all over again but now in another sensorimotor symptom. (n)
       
    29. John G

      John G Member

      Interesting thread. Along with my T,I seem to have OCD. I don't know which one is more frustrating to have.

      Years ago, I mentioned to my doc about OCD.He did prescribe me some meds,I cant remember the name. I never picked up the meds because they were way too expensive for me. I can't remember the price,but it was a crazy amount of money to spend each month.
       
    30. RicoS
      Confused

      RicoS Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress or Acoustic trauma
      @John G I think it is just as bad as T.... I had the blinking, breathing, swallowing , saliva, tongue to big for your mouth issue...and now my I can see my nose 24/7 in my vision. I know everybody can see their nose if you focus on it but with s-ocd your mind is fully focused on it (just as it was on T) ...I thought I became crazy when it started ...until I learned it was sensorimotor OCD....and if you do not take care of it it will jump to something else. These are all things you make fun of with friends, but for people with OCD it can stuck in your brain and will see it as a threat (just like T). For me this all started to happen when I got used to my T. T seemed lower but OCD become stronger.

      The meds coverage I do not care to much about because it is all in my insurrance, but most of the meds have as side-effect T...so that is a bummer. It is choosing between 2 evils.

      The reason I speak about it so openly is that I noticed that a lot of people with T have other symptoms besides it. I guess your body is on such high alert you get the most weirdest symptoms :bag:
       

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