Coping with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Self Help Recovery Tips

Coping with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD:

Managing the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD can be extremely tough. The drugs prescribed for the same have a number of side effects. People feel strong emotions when it comes to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. This is because they need treatment for a long period. Listed below are methods that can be used to deal with OCD disorder.

Coping with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Self Help Recovery Tips

  • Know about OCD: The patient should always have the complete knowledge about their disorder. This should include medication and treatment methods.
  • Learn to Focus on Your Goals: This is not a short-term treatment. The patient has to find ways and means to remain focused at all times, irrespective of the treatment time.
  • Find Healthy Outlets: Dissipating the energy is essential. It is important to use avenues that will keep the patient occupied in healthy pursuits. Again, these should be long term and not short term avenues.
  • Practice Relaxation and Stress Management Techniques: Yoga, Tai Chi, and breathing methods are essential to relax and manage stress.
  • Maintain Your Regular Activities: The patient should not retreat into their shell. Hence, they need to continue their daily activities. Most importantly, they should not withdraw from social functions or activities that will get them in contact with the outside world.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD Tip #1: Become Aware of Obsessive Thoughts and Compulsive Behaviors

Become Aware of OCD:

When you experience a bout of OCD, you need to indulge in activities that will distract your mind:

  • This could be an activity like exercising, calling up your loved ones, playing games, etc. Having a healthy outlet that keeps your mind occupied for intervals of 15 minutes is important to counter the OCD behavior.
  • Once the time interval is up, check if the urge to behave in that manner still exists. Most patients may need to indulge in such activities at multiple times in the day.

Maintain A Journal and Write Down Your Thoughts:

Noting down obsessive thoughts and obsessions is an important part of the process. By writing, you will be able to note down what is the thought. Do not worry if you are mentioning the same sentence repeatedly. Also, do not worry if you continue doing this multiple times. The activity is meant to help you break the cycle.

Pre-Meditate OCD Urges:

You need to develop a system that allows you to anticipate these urges. Most people obsess with the security of their house and if their appliances are still functional. This can be countered by focusing on the appliances at the first instance when operating them. The same goes for locking the doors and windows.

It can be countered by creating a picture in your mind that indicates that the action has been completed successfully. This will help you to re-classify the urge as an unnecessary thought as and when it arises.

Create an OCD worry Time:

An ideal method can be rescheduling the action rather than focusing on “suppressing the thought.” This can be done by setting aside two periods of ten minutes in a day. Pick a time and place that allows you to obsess and dissipate the thought in a safe manner.

During this period, do not focus on the correction. Once the period ends calm down with deep breathing. Return to your normal day and ensure that you do not focus on the same obsessive points. Whenever you face such thoughts during the day, ensure that you store them away for the worry period.

Record of your OCD Obsessions if Possible:

It is better to record the obsessive thoughts. This allows the patient to relive the thought at a later point in time. Replaying the recording for a period of 45 minutes will help you to confront the emotion in a much calmer state of mind later.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD Tip #2: Take Care of Yourself

Practice Relaxation Methods:

People believe Stress to be part of the OCD behavior. However, it is events that cause stress that leads to a person suffering from OCD. Stress only compounds the OCD behavior. This can be countered with the help of meditation, deep cleansing breathing techniques, yoga among other stress relievers. It is ideal to practice the same for a period of thirty minutes in a day.

Maintain Healthy Eating Habits:

Changing one’s habits when it comes to meals is also crucial. People suffering from OCD should keep their sugar levels normal throughout the day. Eating vegetables, grains, and fruits are an ideal way to do this. These sources of carbohydrates also lead to increase in serotonin levels that help people remain calm.

Exercise Regularly:

Regular exercise is the perfect way to offset this behavior. Patients need a way to help their mind refocus when such thoughts arise. Hence, most are recommended at least half an hour of aerobic exercises per day.

Skip Alcohol and Cigarettes:

Drinking and smoking should be completely avoided. Both these activities elevate the OCD symptoms rather than subside them once the effect of nicotine and alcohol wears off.

Get Proper sleep:

Patients should ensure that they get eight to eight and half hours of restful and uninterrupted sleep. The sleep cycle helps calm the brain down and helps the body recover from the day’s activities. Patients should have a fixed cycle when it comes to sleep.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD Tip #3: Look for Support

A support system is what most patients need. Family and friends can help alleviate the obsessive behavior by normal dialogue.

Stay in Touch With Your Family and Friends:

Social interactions are necessary for OCD patients. Once they develop a close network of friends and family, they can interact with them during the onset of these thoughts. The interaction should continue on a regular basis throughout the day. This will keep the mind occupied thus reducing the chances of recurrence.

Look for OCD Support Group:

There are many people suffering from the OCD. Patients should reach out and join these support groups to ensure that they can discuss their feelings with people suffering from the same disorder. They can also use the internet to find such groups in their area.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD?

This is the most common question. There is no fixed period for the recovery. Medication and aspects like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are extremely helpful for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD. The disorder will initially cause disruptions in family and social interactions. Patients can resume their normal interactions as the therapy and medications take effect.

At the same time, it is important for a patient to understand that fear of being independent is a normal response. Patients should be ready for failures. They should understand that they would face recurrences of the thoughts even during normal social interactions. Hence, it becomes important that they use the above pointers to start their recovery process.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 18, 2019

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