How To Deal With OCD: Treatment Options And Tips

Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC

Published 06/22/2022

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a condition that can cause great impacts on a person’s life and routine. This is why it is necessary to seek treatment for this disorder, so a person who experiences OCD can have a chance to see less severe symptoms and will be able to have more time to enjoy their life. Keep reading for information on what OCD is, treatment options, and other tips that you should follow when considering treatment for OCD.

What Is OCD?

OCD is a disorder that causes obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are thoughts, ideas, or even pictures in your head that show up often and won’t go away, even when you want them to. Compulsions are actions or rituals that a person believes they must do, which sometimes need to be completed numerous times.

The condition can affect someone for a long time, and the symptoms and how severe they are, can change over time.

Obsessions

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An obsession is essentially a thought that you are unable to get rid of. In the case of OCD, it may be:

  • Violent thoughts
  • Being afraid of germs
  • Thoughts that are religious or sexual and cause you to stress
  • A need to know what will happen next

Compulsions

A compulsion is an action you must perform, which sometimes has to be carried out because of an obsessive thought that you experienced. Someone with OCD may think that these compulsions have to be completed, or something bad will happen. Here are some examples:

  • Counting to yourself or counting things often
  • Saying a word or phrase many times
  • Organizing objects around your house a certain way
  • Checking things over and over, such as door locks
  • Washing your hands incessantly

Compulsions can take up a large chunk of a person’s day in some cases. They are likely to take at least an hour to accomplish for someone with OCD, but it can take much longer in many.

If you feel like you are experiencing obsessions or compulsions in your life, take this OCD test to find out more details on how you can seek treatment.

Treatment Options

When it comes to treating OCD, there are generally two ways that a psychiatrist will go about this, which are with medicines and psychotherapy. Many times, a person is treated using both approaches since this offers more options.

Medicines

Many medicines can potentially help someone with OCD, and a doctor will suggest one depending on your symptoms and the severity of these symptoms. Prescriptions are usually the first treatment that is ordered, which is explained in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. This may be because it can take a while to find a prescription that works well for someone, so this aspect of treatment may take some time to accomplish.

Psychotherapy

Another aspect of treatment is psychotherapy. A psychiatrist may utilize a few techniques to help a person who experiences OCD learn how to work through their thoughts and change their behaviors. They will also be able to talk about how their symptoms have impacted their lives. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, patients preferred to be treated using psychotherapy over other methods.

Tips

You can do other things while you are getting treatment, which may allow you to see a decrease in symptoms of OCD. These things might help you when you are wondering how to deal with OCD or overcome OCD. Consider following these OCD tips to see if they can help you.

  • Take Your Medicines. When your doctor prescribes a medicine for you to take, do your best to take it exactly as you should. If you don’t like the medicine for some reason or feel like it is causing side effects, be sure to discuss this with your therapist. They may be able to switch your dosage or place you on another prescription.
  • Learn Everything, You Can. Another thing you can talk to your doctor about is finding out more information about OCD. You can read articles, studies, and books about the subject. When you have a better understanding of what you are up against and the techniques that have helped others see a difference in their symptoms, it may help you with your treatment. It can also give you hope.
  • Reach Out To Others. Some people with OCD choose to join support groups. This can allow you to hear about OCD directly from people experiencing it, which will offer you even more perspectives. If you cannot join a face-to-face support group, you may want to check to see if there are any on social media that you can gain insight from. This might help you build up your support system and learn additional tips that can be of use to you.
  • Live Your Life. Since OCD might change up your routine and take up a lot of time in your day, you should do Everything you can to get through your day. Go to work, take care of your kids, make dinner, and handle other things that need to get done. When you take the time to get these things completed, you will probably have less time concentrating on your obsessions and compulsions.
  • Do Something For Yourself. You should also do something for yourself. This can be taking up a hobby or just taking time for yourself when you need it. Everyone needs to relax a minute from time to time, so do this for yourself when you need to.
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  • Remember Your Limits. As you learn more about OCD and keep going through treatment, you will start to understand that obsessions are not always the truth. This means you won’t trust that you are making the best decisions at all times. For this reason, you should continue to stick with your treatment plan since your psychiatrist should be able to help you work on this.
  • Take It Day To Day. OCD treatment can take time to see results. Some symptoms must be managed, and you may have to learn how to think and behave differently. This is why you should take Everything one day at a time. Try not to worry about the future and just get through the present day. There’s no way to know for sure how long it will take before you see a change in your symptoms, so continue to work at it and be optimistic.
  • You May Still Have Bad Days. There are days where you may feel like you are worse than when you started. This can be due to many factors like you might be experiencing something stressful, which may exacerbate your symptoms. When this happens, talk to your therapist about it and remember to follow the strategies put in place for you.
  • Do Your Homework. In many instances, your doctor will prescribe homework to you. Make sure you do these assignments, as they are important. They are designed to help you work through your anxiety and compulsions, so some assignments may make you uncomfortable. However, this is something that you can work through, especially when you are dedicated to seeing your symptoms decrease.
  • Celebrate Successes. During your treatment, it is okay to celebrate small successes and steps that you take. For instance, if you can keep from performing a compulsion that was taking up a lot of your time or learn how to keep an obsession at bay, this is a big deal, and you should be proud of what you accomplished.

Outlook

OCD cannot be cured, and for many people, the condition is chronic. This does not mean that it will always affect a person the same way, however, especially if they get OCD help when they need it.

Once you take the time to start a treatment plan, you and your doctor will be able to work on the areas where you need the most help, so you may be able to alleviate some of your obsessions, compulsions, and stresses associated with it. You must do what your doctor tells you to do, however, and don’t take shortcuts. If you do not agree with what they have asked you to do, talk to them about it. Never keep your thoughts to yourself, as an open dialogue is quite important when you are getting treated for OCD. After all, the obsessions in your head are private and can be causing you concern, so you don’t want to add to these thoughts when it is okay to discuss things.

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As soon as you are aware that you need help to lessen the effects of OCD, get the help you need. You cannot simply do an internet search on how to get rid of OCD that will be able to solve your problems, so get the support you need when you’re ready. You may see a big difference in how you feel and what you can do.