Tips for Those Living With OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and irrational, excessive urges to do certain actions (compulsions). Although people with OCD may know that their thoughts and behavior don’t make sense, they are often unable to stop them.
Living with OCD can be challenging for an individual at work, school, in relationships and other parts of life. Reducing stress, eating well, and avoiding situations that trigger obsessions and compulsions can help you feel better. NAMI offers suggestions for these other ways that can help:
- Learn about obsessive-compulsive disorder. Education about your condition can empower you and motivate you to stick to your treatment plan.
- Join a support group. Support groups can help you reach out to others facing similar challenges. Find a local support group from your local NAMI California affiliate.
- Focus on your goals. Recovery is an ongoing process. Stay motivated by keeping your goals in mind.
- Stay busy. With these disorders, it is easy to become completely absorbed in an activity or thought. Try to stay occupied with work, hobbies, fitness or other activities. While staying busy is not always easy, simply doing other tasks helps keep your mind away from obsessions and compulsions.
- Find healthy outlets. Regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep can have a positive effect on your treatment. Also, avoid drugs and alcohol: while they might temporarily reduce symptoms, they can make you feel worse over time. You should also let you doctor know about any other prescription or over-the-counter medications you take. These may interact with psychiatric medications and increase your symptoms.
- Know your triggers. Avoid situations you know bring on your symptoms. If you can’t avoid something, ask your mental health professional to help you find coping skills to deal with anything triggering. Try stress management techniques such as meditation, muscle relaxation, deep breathing, yoga or Tai Chi.
Information from NAMI National.