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3 Everyday Tips for Managing OCD’s Intrusive Thoughts

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, commonly called “OCD,” is a mental health disorder that causes unwanted thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Over 2.5 million American adults are impacted by this disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The symptoms can range from mildly annoying to debilitating, depending on the person they are affecting. If you are struggling with, there are coping mechanisms for managing these symptoms. Here are 3 everyday tips for managing OCD’s intrusive thoughts.

1. Treating Intrusive Thoughts with Therapy

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Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is one of the most commonly recommended resources for combating intrusive thoughts. This type of talk therapy can help people learn how to identify and ultimately change negative thoughts and behavior patterns. 

Mental health professionals can give you psychology tips for confronting OCD’s invasive thoughts and reframe them constructively instead of ignoring them and hoping they will go away. A licensed counselor or therapist can help you create a toolbox to help you manage the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.

CBT is not the only type of mental health treatment available, however. Many different treatment modalities are available to you, such as ERP (exposure response prevention), another form of psychotherapy in which clients gradually get exposed to stressors and triggers while learning how to resist compulsive urges. 

ACT, or acceptance and commitment therapy, is a form of action-oriented therapy developed in the 1980s that focuses on identifying negative thoughts and promotes accepting them. 

One important tip for yourself to remember is that OCD is complex, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The treatment you receive will depend on your symptoms and your personal preferences. 

A therapist or psychologist can help you develop a care plan that works for you and may include a combination of different therapies for OCD, and you may find that working with a therapist in conjunction with a psychiatrist is beneficial. Finding someone you feel comfortable talking to about your issues is essential, and you may not always see that person on the first try. It’s ok to keep looking until you can find the best help for you and your needs. 

2. Self Care is an Important Part of the Process

“Self care” is thrown around a lot and can mean different things to different people. When it comes to OCD psychology tips, self care involves behaviors that help you to focus on the present and your mental well-being. 

Because ruminating on intrusive thoughts can cause anxiety, acknowledging them and letting them pass by can be a helpful mindfulness tool. For some people, self care may look like exercise, like running or kickboxing, which releases endorphins and can improve your overall mood. For others, self care may be practicing yoga and meditation or improving your sleeping or eating patterns

However you decide to incorporate self care into your life, it’s crucial to make it a priority – even if it is difficult at first. With time and practice, self-care will become more accessible and a vital tool in your mental health journey. One key tip for self care with OCD is that small steps and actions are better than none.

3. Medication – A Effective and Safe Treatment Option

You may feel averse to taking medication, but you should know that there is treatment available that can make a big difference. Many well-studied medications have been proven to not only be safe but to reduce the symptoms of OCD. The most commonly prescribed medications help to increase serotonin levels in the brain. 

The first step is to meet with a doctor for a physical and mental health evaluation to decide if prescription medication might be beneficial. Your primary care physician can then work with you on a referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist best suited to your needs. A therapist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD can work with you in this journey in conjunction with ongoing psychiatry with your psychologist or psychiatrist.

Tips for Living with OCD

OCD is a chronic condition that can be tough to deal with on your own. While there is no cure for obsessive compulsive disorder, treatment options are available to make life easier. The goal is not to eliminate intrusive thoughts but to learn how to manage them healthily. Miami Hypnosis and Therapy is ready to help you overcome your intrusive thoughts and change your life. Reach out to us today.

Anna Marchenko

Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. is the principal therapist at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy. She holds a bachelor's degree from NYU and dual masters degrees from Columbia University. Marchenko’s hypnosis certification is from the only hypnosis program in Florida that has been certified by the state’s Board of Education. She helps her clients by utilizing an integrative approach to psychotherapy, tailored to each individual’s mental health journey, drawing from hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, NLP therapy, EMDR, and more.

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