Managing Symptoms of OCD

Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can interfere with and hinder the quality of your lifestyle. However, if your OCD symptoms have been prevalent for the majority of your life, you may not even recognize all of the symptoms. You also might not understand the complexity of this disorder and that additional moods and behaviors can be a result of OCD. Further, your friends and loved ones might have pointed out your symptoms. However, you may have dismissed them.

Additionally, your friends and family may not understand the complexity of this disorder and might be using a limited understanding of OCD and applying it to your lifestyle. Therefore, education is the most important thing when it comes to you and your family understanding this disorder. Education comes from seeking appropriate resources to help you and your family in this journey. If you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms of OCD, then it is time to consider professional care and learn more about this disorder.

What Is OCD?

According to Medline Plus 2021, OCD is a mental health disorder where an individual has recurring obsessive thoughts and rituals. The symptoms can interfere with a person’s life. Depending on the severity of the condition, OCD can make it almost impossible to take control of the compulsions and put them to an end.

OCD can affect people of all ages, children, and adults. It most commonly begins in teens or early adulthood. The conditions can persist throughout a person’s lifetime unless treatment takes place. Males develop OCD at a younger age than females. The root of the problem is unfortunately unknown. Certain factors such as brain biology, genetics, and your living or working environment play a role in the cause of the condition.

Signs and Symptoms of OCD

Obsessions can be overemphasized concerns, worries, and euphoric thoughts that a majority of people may experience. These repetitious thoughts and urges can cause anxiety and even relate to symptoms typical of other anxiety disorders. If you experience symptoms of OCD, you may become consumed with these obsessions and compulsions that it can be difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with the mental disorder.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health 2022, routine obsessions may include:

  • Fear of unsanitary environments and contamination
  • Panicking thoughts of accidents or death
  • Unwanted and intrusive sexual thoughts
  • Concerns about religion
  • Needing to remember things at all times

Compulsions are when you have the urge to perform ritualistic actions such as:

  • Excessive cleaning or showering
  • Extreme urges to check locks, gas, or electrical appliances for reassurance
  • Arranging things in a particular way
  • Counting movements such as steps or taps
  • Repetitively asking someone for reassurance

The Effects the Condition Has on a Person’s Life

OCD can interfere with your life. Obsessive thoughts can be distracting, and the compulsions can take up a lot of time in your day. This can cause stress and anxiety when much-needed tasks and everyday activities are not being met. OCD can impede relationships. Instead of spending time with family and friends, obsessive thoughts and compulsions bleed into free time. Schoolwork and education as a whole can be impacted. Grades can slip due to a lack of concentration. Disruption in work performance can lead to frustration and feelings of embarrassment. Mental illness can completely consume a person’s life; therefore, treatment is imperative to find peace throughout each day

Self-Help Tips and Professional Treatment

There are holistic ways to personally manage OCD. Redirection is key to breaking away from fixations. Start reassuring yourself that your house is safe after checking hazards a couple of times. Meditation can help ease your mind, and journaling can be highly therapeutic for obsessive thoughts and compulsions. Although there are natural ways to cope with OCD, the condition can interfere with your life to a point where there is no other option but to seek professional treatment. Confirming your diagnosis through a psychiatrist, taking medications, seeking help from a therapist, and considering psychotherapy can be very beneficial.

According to the same NIH study, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be just as effective for individuals as certain medications. For those that do not respond well to CBT or medication alone, exposure and response prevention (EX/RP) can be another option to attempt. This is where a patient is placed in a situation that usually triggers a ritualistic response but is prevented from taking action.

Taking the first step towards treatment can change your life for the better. Professional treatment can also set you up for lasting success and recovery. Having a proper diagnosis, guided therapy, and being among peers who experience similar symptoms creates a fantastic support network that will continue to provide resources and opportunities.

It can be especially hard for an individual with OCD to abandon specific rituals and give in treatment, but the results can greatly improve a person’s quality of life. Treatment can grant more time in each day given, improve relationships with family and friends, and benefit a person’s professional life. Here with Alter Behavioral Health, we can help. Our facility provides you or a loved one with an opportunity to find great relief. Our goal is to help you find the right professionals to develop an organized treatment plan. We welcome you with full support to make your transition easy and successful. If you need professional assistance, there is help. To get more information about our services, call (866) 691-4386.