When you have OCD, even if you are otherwise doing well, symptoms can interfere with your everyday life and make it difficult to accomplish routine tasks. Obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, as well as the anxiety that comes along with them, can consume hours of your day and leave you feeling emotionally drained. Although medication and therapy are often required to treat this chronic condition, self-care is a powerful secret weapon with plenty of benefits as well.
A good way to begin managing your OCD is to begin building a toolbox of strategies that will help you cope with your obsessions over time. The following tips and reminders will help you understand OCD better and learn how to manage your symptoms at home so that you can take on every aspect of your life with more confidence and success.
Work on Becoming More Aware of the Factors That Drive Your OCD
Understanding your thinking patterns and identifying the triggers that cause your obsessions and compulsions to flare up is a necessary first step towards managing your OCD. It can be a good idea to keep a journal to monitor triggers and situations that exacerbate your symptoms and work on building strategies to overcome them. Breaking the OCD cycle requires a conscious effort to face your fears gradually. A common method of addressing fears related to OCD is exposure and response prevention (ERP), which involves gradually confronting your fears and obsessive thoughts in a safe environment while resisting the urge to perform compulsive behaviors.
Forgive Yourself for Struggling With Obsessive Thoughts
Unlike compulsive behaviors, it’s impossible to control obsessive thinking fully. In fact, obsessions are biochemically generated events that appear similar to one’s own thoughts and can evoke strong feelings but are actually a result of chemical reactions within the brain. As biologically-rooted mental events, they can’t simply be shut off by trying not to think about them. On the contrary, studies on thought suppression have shown that the more you try not to think about something, the more likely you are to think about it. Overcoming obsessions requires accepting the fact that they exist and confronting them for what they are. Fears have to be faced if we want to take back the power they hold over us.
Medication is Not A Replacement for Comprehensive Treatment
It’s natural to want quick and easy solutions in life. However, there are no magic cures for OCD at this time, no matter how much we might wish there were. Although they can help a great deal, medications are not a perfect treatment. Typically if a patient sees a reduction in symptoms of between 60 and 70%, it’s considered a good result. However, there are some rare cases where someone will report their own symptoms and were entirely relieved by the prescribed drug. Unfortunately, such cases are the exception to the rule. This is why it’s essential to be engaged in some kind of comprehensive treatment plan or programs such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) that will help you learn to change your wired responses to obsessive thoughts and compulsions.
Remember That Recovery is A Process
Recovery looks different for everyone. It’s normal to experience setbacks or ups and downs throughout the recovery process, and it doesn’t mean you’re failing to get better. How long recovery takes depends on a variety of factors such as the severity of symptoms, co-occurring disorders, and other environmental circumstances, as well as how much time and effort an individual commits to treatment. With consistency and diligence, recovery is possible. No matter how long it takes, it’s essential to see the process through. There can be no partial recovery. Those who take on only those symptoms they feel comfortable dealing with often find themselves back at square one after only a short time.
Life Adjustment Team Can Help
Case management resources make a vital difference in treating obsessive compulsive disorder. At Life Adjustment Team, we understand the importance of individualized care, and our focus is on helping every individual achieve the highest level of wellness, independence, and functional capability possible. The assertive community treatment model used by our clinicians is designed to reach clients who have had trouble responding to traditional forms of outpatient treatment in the past. By bringing personalized care to our clients, both in the home and in the community, we provide a cost-effective alternative to lengthy and expensive inpatient stays.
Contact a member of our clinical team to get started on your journey towards recovery today!