For actual sufferers of OCD, it can be a debilitating condition and can have a seriously detrimental effect on a person's life. The irrational obsessive thoughts that those with OCD typically experience can cause compulsive, repetitive behaviours which are an attempt to ease the anxiety caused by the person's obsessions. If left unchecked, a person's obsessive thoughts can cause increasing levels of disruption to their day-to-day life, as they spend more and more time trapped in them. These thoughts are not a reflection of the person, but obsessive interruptions that can become difficult to shake.
If you have experienced OCD in the past, you may be worried about your obsessions and compulsions returning once again, and that the hard work you have put into managing your symptoms may start to unravel.
The advice below gives you an opportunity to pause and think about ways in which you can manage your OCD and how to get access to the support you need at this time.
5 Ways to deal with your OCD
Anna Sagredou, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Manager for Obsessional Disorders at Priory Hospital North London, has put together her five top tips for dealing with OCD.
1) If you suffer from unwanted intrusive thoughts, help is out there
Speak to a professional who can offer guidance regarding your difficulties, and to find out what will be the best treatment. Treatment for OCD can be very effective - treatment is not about eliminating anxiety, but learning to tolerate it, whilst still being able to engage with your day-to-day life.
2) Remember that you are not alone
OCD is a common anxiety disorder. In fact, a large part of the population may have had some OCD traits at some point in their lives. Don't let it prevent you from talking to people and getting the help you will need. There are online forums and support groups that take place regularly.
3) Read about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
There is a lot of information available online regarding OCD, including testimonies from people with OCD and how they have dealt with it. This can help you to put your difficulties into perspective, offer context, and give you more understanding in what may be helpful for you.
4) Accept that OCD can be a problem and may be interfering in your life
The first step of any change is coming to terms with what is required and why a change is needed. When suffering with OCD we may employ a number of behaviours or rituals called safety behaviours. These behaviours may be helpful in the short-term as they can help you to avoid experiencing uncomfortable feelings, but in the long-term they may be perpetuating your difficulties. Accepting that OCD is becoming an interfering problem in our lives can help with your motivation to change and seek help.
5) Understand the treatment of OCD
Read extensively about what you can and need to do to reduce your OCD. There is plenty of literature out there regarding the treatment of OCD and a number of knowledgeable therapists and consultants who can guide you, step by step, toward overcoming your difficulties.