5 top tips for dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
You may have heard people discuss 'having OCD' or feeling like they are experiencing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder simply because they like things to be well organised.
For actual sufferers of OCD, it can be a debilitating condition and with a seriously detrimental effect on a person's life. The irrational obsessive thoughts those with OCD have 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 a person's 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.
Continuing Priory's series of 5 Top Tips articles, Anna Sagredou, CBT Therapist and Manager for Obsessional Disorders at The Priory Hospital North London, has put together her 5 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 of 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. Visit OCD Action to find out about some of their future events.
3) Read about 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 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 first 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 in the short term be helpful as they can aid in avoiding experiencing uncomfortable feelings, but in the long term may be perpetuating our 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 need to do and what can you do to help yourself in order 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.