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7 health care tips for managing your ocd

7 Self Care Tips for managing your OCD

OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental health disorder that can affect people of all age & walks of life. It is a disorder where an individual gets caught up in the cycle of obsessions & compulsions.

Obsessions are repetitive and unproductive thoughts that almost all of us have experience from time to time. EG: while driving, suddenly a thought enters the mind “Did I locked the door while leaving”, etc.  We do two things, we either head home to check or convince ourselves that we did lock it.

This is an example of normal worrying but if the person has OCD, then this pattern of thought is exaggerated, highly distressing and persistent.  So by definition: “Obsessions are unwanted thoughts, intrusive thoughts, images or urges that trigger intensely distress feelings.”

The second form of the problem is: Compulsions: “Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and /or decrease his or her distress”. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or thoughts that a person uses with the intention of neutralizing, or making their obsessions goes away.  It can also include avoiding situations that trigger obsessions.

Intense anxiety can come whenever the person attempts to stop the ritual. The anxiety becomes so intense that the person surrenders once again to the thoughts or behavior.  Obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming & get in the way of important activities in a person’s values. Some of the Obsessions and Compulsions are as follows:

1. Dirt and Contamination
2. Harming yourself or others
3. Violent thoughts and images
4. Unwanted sexual thoughts
5. Religious obsession
6. Somatic obsession
1. Cleaning/ washing
2. Checking
3. CountingArranging
4. Mental Rituals
5. Hoarding / collecting

Here are some self-care tips that you can follow or suggest to someone who is dealing with OCD for a better life:

TIP 1: Educate yourself about OCD

You need to have an idea of what is OCD and how it works. There’s no substitute for being an informed client. Your understanding of OCD and of the treatment method will be the key to your progress.

TIP 2: Exercise:

Exercise not only helps in maintaining & attaining good physical health but also lessens down your anxiety that causes your obsessions or compulsions to trigger. In particular, aerobic exercises, which are swimming, running, walking, etc., help in decreasing both state & trait of anxiety.  Regular exercise of a challenging intensity may reduce the frequency and severity of OCD thoughts & behaviors.

TIP 3: Mindfulness Meditation:

Mindfulness Meditation is a useful technique for decreasing anxiety because of its emphasis on accepting your thoughts. When an intrusive thoughts pop up, you let it exist in your mind without providing it any weight. You experience the thought, but don’t judge it, change it or try to make it go away. You wait until it passes instead of thinking it should or shouldn’t be there. 

TIP 4: No Caffeine:

If you are dealing with OCD, then you should limit your caffeine as it may increase anxiety due to its stimulating effects on the nervous system. Certain doses or less amount of caffeine temporarily reduces anxiety and worry, but it actually causes anxiety symptoms as it wears off.

TIP 5: Avoid alcohol and nicotine

Alcohol might reduce your anxiety but for shorter period of time. Similarly, while it seem that cigarettes are calming, but it is a powerful stimulant. Smoking leads to higher levels of anxiety and OCD symptoms.

TIP 6: Sleep:

Sleep is critical to our well-being, whether we have OCD or not. But if you have OCD, sleeping in the right schedule is a must. You might have faced some sleepless nights because your OCD doesn’t let you sleep but intensifies the triggers, which keeps you awake.  So making sleep your top priority is a way where you can start to self-care about your OCD. The goal of sleep hygiene is to make your body & mind expect to sleep in a consistent time frame & location to help prevent insomnia.

TIP 7: Therapy:

Cognitive behavioral therapy may be effective for you if you are dealing with OCD. Therapies such as exposure & response prevention (ERP) involve gradually exposing you to a feared object or obsession & make you learn healthy ways to cope up with the anxiety that triggers your OCD.  CBT or ERP may take some effort and a lot of practice, but once you are able to conquer your fear, you can live a healthy life.

The above mentioned tips are some of the easy and effective self-care methods to help you to deal with your OCD.

PsyCare provides you with the best care & comfort under the guidance of the professionals if you need to tackle your obsessions & compulsions.

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