How to overcome Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Posts in the General OCD information category

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental health condition previously classified as an anxiety disorder. People who suffer with OCD experience distressing (intrusive) thoughts in high frequency which they attempt to eliminate with self-directed, repetitive behaviors. The obsessive thoughts are most often not grounded in reality and the repetitive behavior serves no therapeutic purpose other than to strengthen the intrusive thoughts. OCD can revolve around a number of topical themes (harm, sexual, cleanliness, and others) but responds to the same treatment approach irrespective of the theme. If you would like to learn more about OCD, its thematic variants and behavioral and cognitive interventions, please explore the articles below!

Exposure therapy is the crucial ingredient for overcoming any form of OCD. The idea behind it is this – if we repeatedly expose ourselves to feared “triggers,” our mind will eventually learn that the anxiety response is no longer warranted because the feared consequence never occurs. Putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations is not enough. We need to refrain from performing compulsions. This is the “response prevention” component of exposure therapy. Think of a child that sleeps with a stuffed animal at night because they are afraid of the dark. Instead of clinging to stuffed animals, OCD sufferers look to things like reassurance seeking, avoidance behavior, and rumination to bring about comfort in times of intense anxiety over obsessive thoughts. When we remove the compulsions, we disrupt the OCD circuit allowing the mind to see that compulsions don’t actually prevent any consequence from happening – because it doesn’t actually exist.

What is OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive disorder is an mental health disorder that involves two main components – obsessions and compulsions. Those that suffer from OCD spend excessive time performing rituals (mental or otherwise) to ward off unwanted thoughts or feelings. In return, they reinforce a negative behavioral pattern that interferes with their personal and professional lives.