Living with OCD can be a challenge. Finding effective ways to manage OCD symptoms doesn’t need to be.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by intrusive, unwanted thoughts or images. It can also include an overwhelming urge to perform certain behaviors. If left untreated, OCD can have a significant impact on one’s quality of life.
The first step to managing your OCD symptoms is to recognize it is a treatable disorder. You have the power to make the necessary changes.
Practice a breathing exercise or mindfulness to prepare your mind and body for stress and anger before it happens. Practice being calm so it feels familiar later on.
Identify your triggers. These may be people, places, or situations that evoke obsessive and compulsive behaviors.
Imagine how you wish to respond to your triggers. Your best self. Write it down. Speak it aloud. Recognize the value of a calmer response, and the consequences of an angry response.
When you are ready, confront your fears. Gradual exposure to the thoughts and situations that trigger your OCD symptoms can program us to respond in a healthier way.
Practice self-care at all times. Get rest, eat a healthy diet, take a walk. These are the foundation of healthy living.
Do not be afraid or embarrassed to seek help. A licensed professional, or sometimes a trusted friend, can help us cope in ways we do not anticipate.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective method treating OCD. This technique ultimately teaches how to challenge irrational thoughts and beliefs, and replace them with more helpful, positive thoughts.
In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy can help develop effective coping strategies to reduce anxiety and intensity of OCD thoughts and urges.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment with an OCD specialist, contact Dean A. Aman, LPCMH today.