What is OCD?
OCD stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It is one of a few debilitating disorders that the World Health Organization has been creating awareness for over the years. This disorder is clinically recognized as one that induces invasive and obsessive thoughts which can only be controlled by repeating specific actions. These actions are referred to as compulsions. Most of the time, compulsions are easy to notice. It could be constantly checking switches or constantly counting objects and repeating phrases to oneself.
What are OCD Symptoms?
OCD symptoms include constant checking on objects and things like doors and windows, obsession with numbers and arrangements, obsessive thoughts, obsessive cleaning, and hoarding of irrelevant things.
Sadly, according to a study done by the WHO, most people are unable to get the treatment that they need in time. The study shows that an average OCD patient only gets treatment after 12 years of its appearance.
In this article, we will be discussing how to treat OCD, the two common treatments for it, and the chances of getting rid of the disorder.
How To Deal With OCD?
Dealing with OCD on your own is a difficult task and is not recommended. However, while undergoing treatment, there are a few things you could do to help gain relative control of your daily life again. How to get rid of OCD:
- Practice mindfulness: People who have OCD always experience invasive thoughts. One way to reduce this is by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply the act of coming to terms with your current predicaments. Wherever you are, you should always come to terms with the thoughts you are having and the things you are feeling at the time. When you have accepted them, you should also remind yourself that they are bound to come and go at some point. Tell yourself that those thoughts or feelings will pass and you don’t have to act on them. Of course, it won’t be easy to not act on your thoughts and feelings, with or without OCD. However, it would become easy over time. To make it easier, you could find helpful activities such as Yoga or singing that will help you resist the urge to act on the intrusive thoughts you may be having.
- Exercise: This is a proven way to combat intrusive thoughts and compulsions. Exercise helps to take your mind off those thoughts. Most experts recommend that people with OCD do 2 to 3 sessions of short exercises daily. You will find that as you exercise daily, it becomes easier to control yourself when those thoughts come again.
- Sleep: Sleep is another thing that could help reduce intrusive thoughts. However, it is not uncommon for people with OCD to experience insomnia. This insomnia is usually caused by the strong intrusive thoughts that could come at night. To get more sleep, we recommend sticking to a sleep time routine, reducing the amount of time you spend in front of your phone or a Television before going to bed, or taking herbal teas that make you feel relaxed. Find what works for you and stick to it.
- Abstain from alcohol: For people dealing with OCD, resorting to nicotine or alcohol can be tempting because they give a false sense of calmness. However, these substances tend to worsen OCD situations.
- Reach out: At times OCD may affect your daily activities and make you feel the need to be isolated. However, the reverse is what you should do. Reaching out to friends and families in such moments helps you stay in touch with reality. Speak with people who are supportive and willing to help. But don’t be desperate for reassurance from people, it could exacerbate your intrusive thoughts.
Getting Treatment For OCD
There are two major ways to treat OCD; psychological therapy and medication.
- Psychological Therapy
This approach also referred to as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) makes use of a method called exposure and response prevention (ERP). This kind of treatment involves having sessions with a therapist who will help you confront your problems and break them into small parts. The overall idea of therapy is to break this vicious cycle by challenging those negative interpretations and eliminating the compulsions/avoidance.
The problems could be tackled from the angle of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. The therapist will encourage you to confront your fears and thoughts without using compulsive behaviors to neutralize them. Most of the time, you are made to confront the fears gradually, from the smallest to the most difficult. The treatment may appear scary at first, but it has proven to be a very effective way to get rid of OCD.
Medication is usually a second option for people that psychological therapy does not help. Several drugs help to deal with OCD such as antidepressants. At times, this treatment lasts a few weeks and sometimes a whole year. And at times, some people may need to take these medications for many years. However, you should note that you should not stop taking your medication until your doctor tells you to. Stopping these kinds of medications abruptly can have side effects such as anxiety, dizziness, diarrhea, headaches, low sex drive, and so on.
Here Is How To Help People Deal With OCD
When you have friends and relatives dealing with OCD, there are ways you could help them deal with it. First, you want to encourage them to be open to you about how they feel.
People who have OCD tend to keep to themselves out of fear of not being understood or being stigmatized. So, it may be difficult to make them open to you. This is why you need to be patient with them.
Their fears may seem rather irrational to you, but you want to make them see that you believe them and you are willing to listen to them.
Also, you don’t want to judge them. If you judge them when theyopen up, they may shy away from opening up again. You could also try to read about OCD or find articles on how to stop OCD thoughts, to help you understand how your friend or relative feels and what you can do to help them. This makes it easier for you to empathize with them.
Another way to help people with OCD is by helping them find ways to deal with their compulsions. The simple act of tolerating them when they are acting on their compulsions is a way of helping. This is usually referred to as being accommodating. Choosing not to help people with OCD can increase their anxiety and worsen their OCD.
Finally, you can help them to get professional help. Reach out to professionals on their behalf and book a session for them.