8 Tips on How to Overcome OCD
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a disorder that plagues many people today. It is characterized by an inability to lead a normal life and being constantly plagued with thoughts about losing control, contamination, harm, and making mistakes.
OCD usually prevents people from feeling comfortable around groups of people and enjoying their work as well as having feelings, thoughts, and images that are obsessive in nature. There are many ways to learn how to overcome OCD, and anyone who is struggling with this disorder should try these methods.
1) Understand that your anxiety about a certain event or activity is not caused by the activity, but your perception of it. This means that you need to somehow change your perceptions. Changing thought patterns is one of the best ways to deal with an obsessive disorder.
2) When you notice an obsession starting to happen, change the image of it. If you are obsessed with germs and are constantly washing your hands, change your idea of disease-causing bacteria to something harmless. One prominent psychologist tells his patients that if they see their obsession as a stormcloud, they should try to change it to a circus clown, turning something frightening into something laughable.
3) Bore yourself. Isolate the thought that is causing the anxiety and repeat that thought very slowly. As thought patterns slow, the thought will become less frightening and your mind will start to move onto other matters at hand.
4) Think through the problem. Many times we imagine the worst case scenario, but sometimes even the worst case isn’t that bad. Many people with OCD struggle with feelings of anxiety and obsession about the smallest things. For example, many obsessive compulsive people are very worried about germs and have trouble shaking other people’s hands. Imagine that the person whose hand you are shaking has the flu. The worst case scenario is that you will contract the flu and be sick for a few days.
5) Talk to someone. Many times it is difficult to have these obsessive thoughts internally. Talk to a good friend or relative about the problems experienced and the daily struggles. This can help to recognize patterns of unhealthy behaviors and actions and be able to stop repeating them.
5) Consider talking to a professional or seek a treatment program. For those who have a very difficult time holding down a job or having normal relationships, seeing a licensed psychologist is recommended. This does not mean that you have to be on medication, but these medical professionals are valuable resources. They will often recommend group sessions with other individuals who are also struggling with similar issues.
6) One effective method on how to overcome OCD has been meditation. Taking a yoga class that uses meditation techniques is a good way to introduce the subject. Meditation uses visualization techniques and has proven to be a good destresser. The methods used here are also effective for overcoming OCD.
7) Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine works to help speed up the brain and cause alertness. Chances are, if you struggle with OCD, you are already alert. Caffeine-containing beverages are going to make this situation worse and create problems.
8) Exercise. This may seem like an ineffective situation to help solve OCD, but it has been effective for many people. People who maintain a physically active lifestyle have less stress in their lives and are able to relax more easily. Individuals who struggle with OCD have found that exercise can help to let go of negative thoughts and anxieties.
These eight tips are a few ways on how to overcome OCD. While there are several methods listed here, the best approach is to try several of these solutions. To summarize, these are the basic points
- Change the obsession
- Bore yourself
- Think through the problem
- Talk to a friend
- Treatment Program
- Avoid stimulants
- Maintain a level of physical activity
These eight steps have helped many people conquer their OCD and are a great way to get a handle on this disorder. While it may take time to break out of negative habits, by using these methods, you can relearn thought patterns and move away from anxiety. Make goals each week and stick with them for gradual improvement.
What is the most effective therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder?
The most effective therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is considered to be cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention (ERP).
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is a type of CBT that focuses on gradually exposing the individual to the thoughts, images, or situations that trigger their obsessions (exposure) and then preventing them from carrying out the compulsions that they would normally use to neutralize or reduce their anxiety (response prevention). This therapy helps the person to learn to tolerate the distress caused by their obsessions and to decrease the compulsions over time.
The cognitive therapy component of CBT helps identify and change the negative thoughts and beliefs contributing to OCD symptoms. The therapist will work with the client to identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and teach them to replace them with more realistic and positive thoughts.
Medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can also be used to help reduce symptoms of OCD and are often prescribed in combination with CBT/ERP.
It is important to note that different people may respond differently to different treatments, and it’s best to work with a mental health professional to determine the best course of treatment for you.
LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR IN VIRGINIA AND WASHINGTON D.C.
I am the Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Virginia and Washington D.C. I have 10+ years of experience treating adults and adolescents for mental health disorders through a local Virginia Community services board as well as over 5 years in private practice. My career experience includes extensive work helping people to overcome mental health challenges including anxiety, depression, postpartum challenges, personality disorders, trauma, anger management, and general life and relationship stress.