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What Is OCD? How To Relieve Social Anxiety & Stress

If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, OCD may play a part. With over 2.2 million people affected, here are ways to alleviate this distress.

Ever found yourself double-checking if you turned off the stove, only to come back home and do it again, just to be absolutely certain? Well, occasional double-checking is pretty normal, but it could actually be a sign of something called Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Now, OCD isn’t just about being neat or organized; it’s a mental health condition that involves intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors that can really mess with your daily life. So, how can you figure out if your thoughts and habits might be related to OCD, and what can you do to manage it?

What Really Is OCD?

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OCD is all about this cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Moreover, these obsessions come in forms of unwanted thoughts or images that pop into your mind, making you feel distressed. For instance, common obsessions include being afraid of germs, needing things to be perfectly symmetrical, or having intrusive violent thoughts.

More or less, these obsessions can be really upsetting, and people with OCD often feel like they have to do certain things, called compulsions, to try and get rid of the anxiety caused by these thoughts.

What are Compulsions?

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Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental actions that someone with OCD feels like they just have to do in response to their obsessions. Moreover, people usually act on these compulsions by trying to reduce anxiety or trying to prevent something bad from happening. Even if they don’t really make logical sense in connection to the obsession, these tendencies seems to take control. For example, people wash their hands excessively, check locks over and over again, or arrange things in a very particular order.

How Common is OCD?

Interestingly, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is more common than we might realize. Subsequently, it affects approximately 2.2 million adults in the United States annually.

However, this condition doesn’t discriminate by age. Thus, it can emerge during one’s youthful years, whether in childhood, the teenage phase, or as a young adult. Also, manifestations of OCD are diverse, with each person experiencing it uniquely and with varying intensity levels.

Two OCD Symptoms…

i. Occasional vs. Persistent

It’s natural for people to experience sporadic worries and partake in some repetitive behaviors. However, when these become persistent, they may be indicative of OCD.

ii. Time & Disruption

A large indicator of OCD is the large chunk of time – over an hour daily – spent on obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions. When these begin to obstruct your routine, professional life, or social interactions, it’s time to take notice.

How To Take Action

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Living with OCD can be challenging, yet there is a silver lining – it is a condition that responds well to treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) stands out as a highly effective approach. Through CBT, individuals learn to recognize and reframe detrimental thought patterns, thereby gaining better control over their obsessions and compulsions.

If you or someone in your circle might be grappling with OCD, it’s imperative to reach out for professional guidance. In turn, mental health experts can offer a comprehensive assessment to confirm an OCD diagnosis and find a treatment strategy. Thus, with appropriate assistance and intervention, individuals with OCD will be able to handle their symptoms more effectively.

However, at the heart of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder lies a profound connection with mental health and anxiety.

Why OCD Coexists With Anxiety & Depression

OCD doesn’t exist in isolation; it often accompanies other mental health issues, such as major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and even performance anxiety. This overlap can amplify difficulties in managing symptoms.

Recognizing these concurrent conditions is necessary. Addressing all facets of one’s mental health through comprehensive treatment becomes paramount for those contending with OCD.

The Best Treatments

Managing OCD and its associated anxiety is an ongoing process. Despite the ups and downs, determination, professional aid, and effective techniques provide one with a rewarding life.

i. Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT)

As reiterated, CBT is an integral component in the treatment of OCD. It equips individuals to confront and reconstruct negative thought patterns that perpetuate obsessions and compulsions.

ii. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

A specific CBT strategy, ERP incrementally exposes individuals to their OCD triggers while coaching them to refrain from compulsive responses. It’s a potent method to diminish the influence of obsessions and compulsions over time.

iii. Mindfulness Practices

Lastly, practicing mindfulness through practices like deep breathing or yoga can be exceptionally beneficial. Because mindfulness encourage present-centered awareness and a nonjudgmental approach to one’s thoughts and emotions, you will be able to mitigate the impact of intrusive thoughts.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

Always remember, seeking professional assistance is never looked down upon.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, reach out to me below, and I will assist you with the help you need.

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