What is OCD and What Helps?Jan 31, 2023
Are you or a loved one struggling with OCD? It’s important to recognize OCD is not just hand washing or door checking or worrying about cleanliness. While those can be issues for people with OCD, it is a more complex disorder.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts, or obsessions, that lead to compulsive behaviors, or compulsions. People with OCD experience persistent and unwanted thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations, or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something. Common obsessions include fear of contamination, fear of harm, and intrusive thoughts about religion or sex. Common compulsions include excessive hand-washing, counting, checking, and cleaning. People with OCD often feel that this compulsions are necessary to go on being.
OCD is a chronic disorder, meaning it can last for years or even a lifetime if left untreated. It is estimated that 1.2% of the population has OCD, and it affects men, women, and children of all ages. People with OCD often feel embarrassed or ashamed of their symptoms, and may try to hide them from others. OCD is often treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Medication can help reduce the intensity of symptoms, while psychotherapy can help people learn to manage their symptoms and cope with their disorder. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used form of psychotherapy for OCD. It helps people identify and challenge their irrational thoughts and replace them with more realistic and helpful ones. If you think you may have OCD, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. With the right treatment, people with OCD can learn to manage their symptoms and lead a healthy and fulfilling life.
Below are treatments and supports to consider if you or a loved one are struggling:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps people identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. It can help people with OCD learn to recognize and manage their symptoms.
- Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP): ERP is a type of CBT that helps people confront their fears and resist the urge to perform compulsive behaviors.
- Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can help reduce anxiety and stress.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a practice of being aware of the present moment and accepting it without judgment. It can help people with OCD become more aware of their thoughts and feelings and better manage their symptoms.
- Medication: Certain medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can help reduce OCD symptoms.
- Support Groups: Support groups can provide a safe and supportive environment for people with OCD to share their experiences and learn from each other.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep can help reduce stress and improve overall mental health.
- Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can increase anxiety and make OCD symptoms worse. Limiting or avoiding these substances can help manage symptoms.
- Challenge Unhelpful Thoughts: People with OCD often have unhelpful thoughts that can lead to compulsive behaviors. Challenging these thoughts can help reduce symptoms.
- Seek Professional Help: If symptoms are severe or not responding to self-help strategies, it is important to seek professional help from a mental health professional.
Reach out today for a free consultation call to see if we are the right fit to help you find relief today!