OCD can feel overwhelming and hard to manage. While there are several ways to cope with this mental health condition, there is an approach you can practice on your own to help lessen your symptoms.
Have you ever had unwanted or distressing thoughts or felt like you repeated certain behaviors? Unless it disrupts your daily life, this should not worry you. However, if your life is impacted regularly by these thoughts or behaviors, you may have obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD.
While there are many different approaches to treating OCD, you may wonder if there’s anything you can do on your own to manage it. The answer to that is yes. There are options you can practice at home to help fight against your OCD, and our team at Colorado Recovery Solutions wants to find the best fit for you and your mental health.
What is OCD?
OCD is a mental health condition that results in obsessions, compulsions or a combination of the two. Obsessions are intrusive thoughts or sensations that are persistent and recurring. Compulsions are the need to carry out a particular behavior repeatedly. These thoughts and actions can often be time-consuming and affect your ability to focus or complete tasks. OCD affects 2-3% of Americans and typically gets diagnosed between adolescence and early adulthood. Risk factors for developing OCD include having a family history of OCD, a past trauma, or an anxiety disorder.
What are the signs of OCD?
The two groups of OCD symptoms are obsessive and compulsive; you can have one but not the other.
The most common obsessions include:
- The need for objects to be symmetrical
- Fear of dirt and germs
- Explicitly sexual or violent thoughts
- Fear of blurting out obscenities or anything offensive
- Fears of harming yourself or anyone close to you, like a friend or family member
Typical compulsions can include the following:
- Arranging objects in a symmetrical way
- Frequent cleaning
- Counting or repeating phrases
- Checking locks, switches, and appliances often
- Having a constant need for reassurance and approval from others
What are my treatment options?
While there are medications your care provider can prescribe to help manage your OCD, there are also things you can work on at home to help combat your symptoms. At Colorado Recovery Solutions, we recommend working with our providers to practice a form of exposure and response therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT can help you reshape negative thoughts and create new pathways for your brain to think positively about situations that may usually invoke obsessive or compulsive reactions. The first step in CBT requires you to identify the circumstances that trigger your obsessive thoughts or compulsive actions. Then, in a controlled environment, you can recreate these circumstances without performing your usual compulsion – this allows your brain to see that nothing bad will happen. Over time, your anxiety should gradually decrease.
Your provider can help you determine your triggers and give you the best tools to be able to practice CBT at home.
There are many ways to manage your OCD, but CBT can start you off well, especially if your symptoms are mild. If CBT is the right option for you, or you’ve tried CBT and you feel a more effective treatment may be needed, call our office at 719-622-6522 for a consultation.