Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is a mental illness marked by two types of symptoms. First, affected people develop obsessions that cause them great anxiety. In an attempt to relieve that anxiety, they engage in compulsive behaviors or rituals. However, this relief is only temporary, and disruptive feelings of anxiousness will return without treatment. To break this cycle of obsession and ritual, you need help from a well-designed OCD treatment program. In addition to taking this crucial step, you can do things on your own to manage your OCD rituals.
Basics of OCD Rituals
Ritual is central to most people’s lives. You probably follow certain routines that fit your needs and situation every day. As a rule, these rituals are functional. This means that they serve their purpose without having a negative impact on your life.
However, if you are affected by OCD, certain rituals take a different form. Instead of enhancing your ability to function, they decrease it. This is true because they act as responses to obsessive, anxiety-causing:
- Mental concepts or images
In addition, both your obsessions and ritual compulsions feel beyond your control. Even if you know they make no sense or harm your well-being, you find yourself repeatedly engaged in them.
Bouts of your OCD symptoms do not typically appear out of nowhere. Instead, they are preceded by what is known as OCD triggers. This term applies to anything that helps kickstart the cycle of obsession and compulsion. Not everyone experiences the same triggers in the same circumstances. Your particular sources of triggering depend, in large part, on the specific obsessions that affect you. They may include things such as an environment or setting, a situation, an object, or a person.
Managing Your OCD Rituals
Experts offer a variety of tips for keeping your OCD rituals under control. The long list of steps you can take includes:
- Educating yourself about OCD obsessions and rituals
- Learning how to spot your unique symptom triggers
- Following all of the treatments in your formal recovery plan
- Eating a generally healthy diet
- Getting plenty of exercise
- Taking part in hobbies or activities that provide you with healthy outlets
- Learning techniques to relax and keep your stress levels at manageable levels
- Joining a support group that includes others with OCD
- Keeping your eye on your long-term goals for OCD recovery
- Maintaining your social connections with friends and family
- Having your friends and family stay on the lookout for your potential symptoms
Maintaining your regular work and/or school life is also important. This kind of activity not only helps you stick to a functional daily routine. It also decreases the time you have available to sustain the cycle of obsession and compulsion.
OCD Treatment Programs
An effective OCD treatment program is essential to your recovery. Without one, your attempts to manage your rituals and other symptoms have far greater chances of failing. Therapy and medication form the core of OCD treatment. One common therapy option is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. You may especially benefit from a CBT technique called exposure and response prevention. Medications may play a role as well. Antidepressants are the most common medication choices in OCD treatment programs.
Get Help Managing Your OCD Rituals at New Start Recovery
At New Start Recovery, we specialize in dual diagnosis treatment for people with OCD. You have a dual diagnosis if your OCD is accompanied by substance problems or other additional mental health illnesses. To recover, you must receive treatment for all of your conditions, not just OCD.
For more information on how we can help you manage your obsessive-compulsive symptoms, call us today at 833.433.0448. You can also reach us through our brief online form.