How to overcome Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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.

Harm OCD Compulsions

Harm OCD sufferers spend a great deal of time trying to (dis)prove their “closeted lunacy.” As a group, they rely on a set of identical tactics that are equally ineffective in treating OCD. These tactics fall under the umbrella term of compulsions. Compulsions consist of repetitive behaviors that are used to ward off anxiety. The OCD sufferer performs them under the naive assumption that they will provide long-term relief. In reality, they provide intermittent relief while sustaining the OCD in the long haul.