5 Self Help Tips to Treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Posted April 3rd, 2009 by Staff Writers in Uncategorized (No Comments »)

By Alisa Johnson

OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions (or rituals) which interfere with one’s social, school, or occupational functioning. Some of the symptoms include fear of contamination, fear of disease, repeated checking, rituals to avoid bad things happening, fear of not having things you might need, obsession with order and symmetry and obsessive sexual or violent thoughts. Examples would be repeated hand or body washing, checking whether the lights are switched off or the doors are latched over and over and over again, not stepping on a crack in a side walk etc. This can cause a lot of distress and may lead to many problems at home, work and in relationships. But OCD is not without cure and with persistence, this disorder can be overcome. If you are a victim of OCD, then here are a few self help tips that can aid your cure.

1.    Be informed about OCD.  Before you make an attempt to rid yourself of this disorder, gather all the information you want from books and your therapist about the disorder. Being aware of the causes and symptoms can help you handle the problem better.

2.    Face your obsessions head on. OCD is actually a vicious cycle of obsession-compulsion-panic. Unpleasant obsessions lead to repetitive rituals that in turn lead to panic. One approach to beat this cycle is to know that the root cause of OCD is the obsession and then confront this obsession. Put yourself consciously in a situation that will lead to thoughts that flare up into obsessions. Once these obsessions take over, you would want to perform a compulsive behavior that you think would stop these thoughts. In the confrontation therapy, force yourself not to perform this compulsive behavior. Initially, you maybe able to hold yourself for only as long as a minute or two, but working on it with commitment and daily practice, you will see that you can go longer and longer without performing the compulsive behavior to handle the obsessive thoughts. Knowing you can cope for longer times will accelerate your recovery.

3.    Risk it and trust people. This maybe one of the most difficult things for you to do as it involves handing over control to someone else. You may doubt normal people whom you come in contact with everyday; you may fear that they will pass on some disease to you or that they may leave your house in a ‘terrible’ mess. Remind yourself that to live in a society, you should trust people to a reasonable extent. Most people that matter to you are responsible enough not to pass on their contagious diseases or make your home dirty. If you want to know what this trust is, take notes from a friend or family member that is in a similar role as you.

4.    Talk to people. Do not feel ashamed of your problem and isolate yourself from family and friends. Most of them will be very supportive and will be willing to help you out in any way that they can. Just talking to them will make you feel a lot better.  Involving family and friends in your battle will keep you well motivated. You can also join an OCD support group just to know you are not alone in your struggle. Sharing your experiences with others and listening to theirs will help you go easy on yourself.

5.    Relax. Healing techniques like yoga, pranayama and meditation offer great relief from stress and anxiety. In addition to keeping your body fit and healthy, these techniques keep the mind calm and at peace. A calm mind is goes a long way in curing OCD. Physical activities, engaging in hobbies and interests also keep the mind away from obsessive thoughts.

You are an able person who has a lot to contribute to this world. Don’t give in to OCD, fight it, the cure is well within your reach.


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