How to Overcome Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

 What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted and repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviours (compulsions). OCD interferes with a person’s daily life, career and relationships. OCD is ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the tenth most disabling disease because OCD affects every part of a person’s life.


Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder contain both obsessions and compulsions.

Signs of obsession

Obsessions are thoughts, images, or impulses that repeatedly enter a person’s mind and he or she cannot control them.

Some common obsessions

Fear of dirt or bacteria

Impulses to shout obscenities in inappropriate situations

Disgust with bodily waste or fluids

Fear of thinking evil or sinful thoughts

Fear of spoiling a family member or friend

The need for constant reassurance

Hair loss or bald spots due to hair dragging

Playing pornographic images in your mind

You suspect that you have locked the door or turned off the stove.

Symptoms of compulsions

OCD compulsions are specific behaviours that people who have OCD try to relieve anxious feelings by performing.

Signs and symptoms of compulsions may include:

Counting according to certain formulas

Storing newspapers, mail or containers when they are no longer needed

Asking for reassurance over and over again

Hand wash until your skin turns brown

Count to a definite number, over and over

Double-checking the stove to make sure it’s off


There are types of therapy specifically designed for OCD. Currently, therapists use a specific CBT technique for OCD called exposure response prevention.

Cognitive behavioural therapy helps people identify illogical, negative beliefs and behaviours and swap them with rational, positive ones. The goal of cognitive-behavioural therapy is to replace destructive thinking habits with healthy ones. In exposure-response prevention (ERP), the therapist repeatedly exposes the person to an obsession, such as touching a trash can, and then prevents the patient from washing their hands. This exercise is repeated from the lightest problem to the most severe. ERP breaks the link between obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors and reduces fears and anxieties.


Several medications are available to treat OCD. Antidepressants help increase serotonin levels, so they can be helpful for OCD. These drugs include: clomipramine, fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, and fluvoxamine.

Life with OCD

Learn relaxation and stress management. Stress is a major trigger for the onset of OCD symptoms. Learn stress management techniques such as relaxation, mediation, yoga, etc.

Overcoming guilt and shame. Blame and disgrace are often related with OCD. The first step to coping with OCD is overcoming guilt and shame. In reality, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are just a problem like any other problem.

Learn about obsessive-compulsive disorder. Educating yourself about your problem will help you deal with it better.

Be patient with yourself. Overcoming OCD takes time, effort and patience

Redefine obsessions: your obsession is just a symptom, not reality.

Don’t fight obsessive thoughts. Fighting each thought strengthens that thought. Challenge your obsessive thoughts and replace them with rational thoughts, but then gently divert your attention.

Use a mindfulness technique. Get outside of yourself so observe your thoughts in a non-judgmental way.

By Magazine4Health

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