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7 Habits that Make OCD Worse & How to Cope

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Imagine worrying whether or not you locked your door when you left home. While all of us expertise this concern from time to time, think about feeling so anxious that you expertise an immediate urge to count objects in a specified order to cease the anxiety. Although this scenario may sound difficult to understand, it’s a common actuality for individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder; a chronic psychological well being dysfunction that impacts round 1 to 2% of the world population. But thankfully, there are methods to manage and keep away from a few habits that make OCD worse.

What Is OCD 

Obsessive-compulsive dysfunction (OCD) is an ongoing psychological well being dysfunction that involves repeated intrusive fears or ideas (obsessions) that trigger repeated behaviors (compulsions).  

For example, if somebody fears dirt or germs, they may repeatedly wash their hands till they’re uncooked to alleviate the stress related to germs. While compulsions are pushed to alleviate anxiety, they may solely temporarily reduce these emotions till the fears or obsessions return – that is the vicious cycle of OCD. And the stress may become so extreme that it can ultimately disrupt functioning in relationships, work, school, and different areas.  

15 Common Symptoms of OCD  

OCD involves two main symptoms: obsessions and compulsions. When an obsession occurs, the person feels compelled to carry out a behavior to alleviate the misery caused by the undesirable thought or picture or prevent what they’re experiencing from coming true. Let’s discuss the common themes related to each to higher perceive OCD. 

Common obsession themes  

  1. Fears of contamination, dirt, or germs 
  2. Worries about throwing issues away 
  3. Explicit sexual and or violent ideas  
  4. Needing everything organized and orderly  
  5. Fears of losing management and harming your self or others 
  6. Unwanted thoughts, images, words, or sounds  
  7. Concerns about the well being and security of your self or others 

Common compulsions  

  1. Repeatedly washing your hands, objects, or physique  
  2. Checking doorways repeatedly to make sure they’re locked 
  3. Touching one thing a particular variety of times 
  4. Hiding objects that you could use to harm your self or others 
  5. Checking a range a particular variety of times to make sure it’s off 
  6. Silently repeating a prayer or phrase a set variety of times 
  7. Organizing or aligning objects in a sure way  
  8. Analyzing previous actions to make sure you haven’t harmed somebody  

What causes OCD 

While experts are unsure precisely what causes OCD, various theories may potentially trigger or exacerbate the condition.

  1. Family history. If somebody in your loved ones has OCD, you can develop obsessive fears and compulsions by observing theirs over time.
  2. Biology. Some studies believe there’s a connection between OCD signs and abnormalities in sure parts of the brain. However, extra analysis is needed. 
  3. Genetics. A genetic component could additionally be involved, however analysis has but to discover out whether or not that is true.

7 Habits that Make OCD Worse & How to Cope  

1. Avoid attempting to prevent your thoughts
Many individuals with OCD attempt to cease their ideas and beliefs from occurring. Yet, rather than attempting to disregard or cease them, which will solely result in extra obsessive thoughts, acknowledge that they’re there and attempt to query them. For example, ask if the worst will happen, if it’s possible it’s happening proper now, or has it already happened. Asking these questions may present a much-needed stress launch and is a nice way to practice dealing with one of many habits that make OCD worse.

2. Try to destress
For anyone, internalized anger and stress can severely disrupt your life, resulting in depression, anxiety, and even worsening OCD symptoms. Therefore, throughout stressful periods engage in methods in which might assist you really feel extra relaxed. For example, vent to a loved one you trust, talk to a therapist, practice deep breathing, or full any exercise that brings you joy.  

3. Try to let go of perfectionism
While everybody goals to do their best in life, perfectionism is usually a key symptom of OCD. For example, if you obsess over whether or not you probably did well on a test at school or presentation at work, you become extra vulnerable to the obsession to transform proper into a compulsion. Therefore, if it turns into an intrusive thought, remember that these ideas don’t say something about your character (you’re trying your best). And secondly, settle for their presence rather than attempting to get rid of them – acceptance is key to slowly eradicating their power. You could additionally practice a few extra tricks to assist your perfectionistic tendencies.

4. Practice forgiving guilt
It’s common to expertise guilt with OCD. For example, you may self-criticize for believing you hurt somebody or punish your self for having an undesirable thought or image. Yet, rather than attempting to suppress your ideas (they will come and go with time), redirect to self-compassion. Practicing self-compassion will briefly cease the rumination and provides your self a second of kindness. You can practice it by making a visible reminder that says, “I deserve love”, or “I forgive myself”. 

 5. Don’t isolate yourself
During your OCD flareups, it might be tempting to close your self off from the world, particularly in case your fears are in overdrive. For example, if you fear bacteria, you might think about everything outside your door is dangerous. However, isolating your self can result in elevated stress and internalized frustration and guilt. When this happens, be kind to yourself. Then when you really feel a bit better, attempt to go for a walk, attain out to your therapist, or journal how you’re feeling. The extra relaxed you feel, the higher your signs will be.  

6. Your sleeping routine
The results of sleep deprivation are no laughing matter; it disrupts your decision-making, ability to disregard cravings and makes it harder to carry out daily tasks, amongst different things. Unfortunately, what quantity of hours you obtain every night could make it extra difficult to management or resist obsessive thoughts. To guarantee you’re getting restful sleep, keep off your phone at least one hour earlier than bed, aim for the recommended eight hours of sleep, and prioritize a calming sleep routine involving meditation, yoga, or studying earlier than bed. 

7. Seeking reassurance
If we’re upset about an issue or situation, it may really feel calming to hunt outside assist for reassurance or self-reassure. But unfortunately, reassurance-seeking is one other compulsion of OCD and could make you really feel worse. It may look like repeatedly asking a friend if they’re mad at you or reviewing every element of a previous situation. When this happens, attempt to keep away from judging or shaming yourself. Instead, identify when you’re doing it and the conditions you really feel this compulsion both helped you or not. When you have a clearer understanding of your reassurance-seeking behaviors, it will be simpler to keep away from thought traps that caused them.

Above all, OCD is a treatable disorder, and with remedy and or medication, what you’re feeling proper now can get better. Even if you really feel overwhelmed or remoted by your condition, you can speak with a therapist who will work with you to tailor a treatment plan specialised to your symptoms, together with the habits that make OCD worse and difficult to manage.

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