Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a chronic illness, which causes uncontrollable, persistent thoughts or obsessions and repeated behaviors. The urge to repeat the behavior is so strong that the person cannot simply avoid it. Even if he tries to do so, extreme anxiety takes over and compels them to repeat the behavior.
Their obsessions and behaviors may not even logically make any sense but getting trapped in a loop of behavioral patterns can cause extreme exhaustion and it is too time-consuming. It is necessary to seek treatment for this condition, otherwise, it may deteriorate the lifestyle. OCD treatment involves proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, OCD treatment involves:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
The therapist will conduct cognitive-behavioral therapy on the patient. This technique encompasses two kinds of treatment methods exposure and response prevention and cognitive therapy. Both these techniques are scientifically based, which effectively changes a person’s thoughts and behaviors.
To get the therapy the patient will have to visit the therapist’s office once a week. The therapist will also suggest some at-home exercises, which will support the weekly treatment session. The sessions depend on the severity of the condition. Those experiencing severe forms of OCD may need to visit their therapist more than once a week.
The therapy involves structured and goal-oriented talk sessions, which help manage obsessive thoughts and behavior patterns. The therapist will first identify the triggers that compel you to repeat the patterns and help you in controlling your unnecessary behaviors. This therapy significantly reduces difficulties and improves the quality of life.
This is a kind of talk therapy, which is the most form of treatment. Apart from talk therapy. Several other treatment methods are also available for OCD, which are designed to address the problems of OCD patients of different age groups.
As per the Mayo Clinic, certain psychiatric medications can be beneficial in managing the condition very well. These drugs can help in controlling obsessive behaviors and compulsions that make you repeat your behaviors around those obsessive thoughts. Some Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved antidepressant medications can serve as an effective remedy against OCD. The psychotherapist will prescribe different types of antidepressants depending on factors including age, severity, and suitability.
While getting an appropriate medication prescribed by your therapist, you must talk to them to gain awareness regarding the risk factors that can be involved. You must get to know about the side effects of the medications and their interactions with other medications and substances like alcohol, and other psychoactive substances, etc.
OCD is a chronic condition, which means the person has to live with it for their entire lifetime. Along with the treatments, it is necessary to implement some lifestyle changes that will aid the treatment process and help in managing unwanted obsessions and repeated behaviors.
You need to carefully follow your therapist’s advice and practice the at-home exercises as directed by them to ease the symptoms. You do not have to visit the therapy clinic several times a week, you can identify the triggers and control the obsessions by regularly practicing the techniques and skills you learned at the therapist’s office. These techniques can prevent compulsive behaviors before they gain control over you.
Accept your condition
Rather than being frustrated about the condition, it is better to learn and become completely aware of your thoughts. Acknowledging the existence of this chronic condition will allow you to understand your triggers since you cannot cure the condition. Why not gain an understanding to manage it well? This will be the first step towards coping with OCD.
In case the compulsions overpower you, and you cannot do anything about it. Then it is better to talk to your therapist. Although the treatment and the techniques will be helpful in efficiently controlling your behaviors. Still, if you find difficulties in managing them, then talk to your therapist.
Divert your mind
Engaging your mind in some kind of activity when the triggers are showing up will help in shifting your attention and eliminate the compulsions. You can do some walking, solve a puzzle, play a game, hum a song, or find healthy outlets, to get your mind to shift its focus.
Join a support group
Reaching out and connecting with people that are facing the same challenges as you will encourage you to share your difficulties and strengthen your coping mechanisms.
Do some meditation
Medication is beneficial for calming your mind and attaining peace. You can do some mindful deep breathing exercises and yoga regularly. This will have a calming effect on your body as well as your mind.
Track your progress
Rewarding yourself for how far you have come and how efficiently you have managed your condition will motivate you to continue the coping methods and techniques. Also, share your techniques with others like you, which will help them in managing their difficulties and deal with lifelong conditions like OCD efficiently.