Perhaps you are reading this website because you have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If so, welcome, I embrace you as a brother or sister. You might be wondering, “How does one deal with OCD?” I’d like to give a few treatment recommendations:
See a Psychiatrist
It is extremely important that you visit a psychiatrist if you have OCD. A psychiatrist will be able to diagnose your OCD as well as prescribe medications to relieve the symptoms of the disorder. If you cannot afford to see a psychiatrist general physicians can aid in this area and are able to prescribe medications – but one would not go to a podiatrist for a cardiac issue and one should not go to a general physician if one can go to a specialist.
See the International OCD Foundation’s page on finding a good therapist. – Medications do not remove the disorder, they only lessen its symptoms. Sometimes for people who only have an episode and not childhood onset OCD the medication can provide a cure. But for many individuals, such as myself, OCD is only covered by the medications – allowing us to function normally as long as we remain on the medication. Getting counseling is a must, and not just a week or two but extended counseling.
The above two options are musts for anyone suffering from OCD, but there are also some additional exercises which I have found particularly helpful:
I have four cats and they have been some of the best therapy I have ever received. When they rest on your lap purring and with their small heartbeats rising and falling one cannot help but feel the peace that they have.
Find something you love that is active and do it. I hate working out in the traditional sense (because I don’t feel like when I’m done I’ve accomplished anything), so instead I try to make myself do chores around the house or small home improvement projects.
For quite a while I rode an exercise bike while watching TV. Since then I’ve had some additional physiological health problems that prevent this – but for those who do enjoy riding a bicycle, you can get a nifty folding recumbent bike that fits well within a small space from Amazon.
Take one moment at a time. We can’t control the past, the future is not yet ours, the present is the only moment we have. In this moment, what life will we live? Leave behind the mistake you just made, the OCD you just succumbed to and do what you want/should now.
The OCD individual oftentimes has an addictive personality which can result in the consumption of large amounts of unhealthy foods. It is important to work on a balanced diet. Specifically, avoid refined sugars and caffeine.
Personally, I am looking forward to trying Soylent as a meal replacement and seeing if this removes additional allergens from my food sources that may be exacerbating my OCD symptoms.
- Please note I am a sufferer, not a medical professional.↩
- Rapoport’s book, The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing is a must read for those struggling with whether medication is a reasonable and legitimate means of treating OCD.↩
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is generally considered the most effective treatment for OCD.↩
- I like to picture OCD as ruts in the brain. Once one has ruts – just like a road – its hard to go along any other path. OCD paths are bad ruts in our brain. Medications fill in the ruts, but when removed the ruts will eventually expose themselves again. The only way to take care of the ruts is if one digs an entirely new road and when the medications are taken away one continues to utilize that road even when the old one “opens up” again.↩
- Sufferers of OCD usually conceal their sufferings, leading a relatively normal life on the outside. Many times even those close to us won’t know we are suffering. This leads to a feeling of isolation. We don’t see others struggling with the same problems we are and they don’t see us – because we do our best to conceal it. Reading books about OCD is extremely helpful because it normalizes the disorder and helps us understand that it is real and prevalent.↩