How to Stop OCD

Real Choices to Stop OCD

Those suffering from obsessions or compulsions want to know one thing and one thing only; how to stop OCD.

Asking “How to stop OCD?” is simple. Unfortunately getting a simple and easy to understand answers is not. Obsessive thought patterns are complex issues resisting simply techniques and categorizations. Those suffering from OCD have a nervous system that has become trapped in a vicious loop impervious to logic, will power and often medication.

To stop OCD, one must get past the illusion that distracting disruptive thoughts with certain activities or rituals will provide relief. It’s temporary and the cycle always returns. Staying busy may keep the person preoccupied, but only perpetuates the cycle. As soon as the person relaxes and lets down their guard the obsessions come flooding back in.   

You don’t stop OCD by distracting yourself. You stop OCD by working on the real issues, the underlining drivers keeping the person stuck. Unfortunately these don’t always make sense to those who are trying to avoid emotional discomfort. Many are under the impression it is a disease. That’s understandable, since no one intentionally chooses to have unwanted or disturbing ideas. No one purposely chooses to be at odds with their thoughts or feelings.

There is an ongoing debate as to why the neurology of certain people creates obsessive and intrusive thought patterns. At this time there is no definitive or clear cut scientific reason that adequately explains the onset of OCD. In the past genetics and chemical imbalances have been common explanations, even though plenty of experts disagree with these assumptions or realize they are best inadequate and partial rationalizations.

Then what is OCD?

Plain and simple, OCD is a disorder. It’s right in the name, obsessive compulsive disorder; meaning an imbalance exists in the system of the mind or body. A portion of the persons thought or emotional processing abilities are conflicting with other internal processes. The system is out of sync with itself. The person is caught up in their own neurological civil war. These confrontations can create such intense stress, some will no longer trust their own judgments.

Many who want to stop OCD assume an illness and a disorder to be the same thing. They’re not. There is no OCD virus or OCD gene. These simple one dimensional ideas, while desirable by those seeking simple answers are inadequate. For those who wonder why there is no cure for OCD, the answer is simple; it is not an illness. To improve mental health, to stop OCD and effectively expand emotional well being, other perspectives are necessary.

How can you make changes in yourself to stop OCD?

Complex anxiety disorders such as OCD can be viewed as a set of coping mechanisms which have been pushed to such an extreme, they no longer support the person. Their emotional or cognitive limitations have exceded certain stress thresholds. When a system gets maxed out, communications begin to break down. For those with OCD, internal communications have become counter productive. Thoughts ands feelings begin to feed into themselves. Meaningful or productive solutions and perspectives are overlooked. What the person experiences is continuous cycle of undesired ideas.

Most people with OCD are aware their obsessions increase with stress. These people may always have been susceptible to certain sensitivities, creating a perception of the world that doesn’t match the norm. Thus their coping skills to adapt to certain stresses have developed differently, making the individuals prone to certain types of anxieties.

One way for the subconscious mind to deal with an overloaded nervous system is to create an emergency coping mechanism; the obsessions. The old way of coping with stress and life events have failed the person and without alternative choice, obsessions become a distraction, diverting attention away from the real stresses the person has not found a way to cope with.  

While effective, it is a faulty approach, since OCD severely limits choice. The person’s focus gets stuck on a meaningless, yet discomforting illusion part of them already realizes is not true. That is not an illness, but an internal processing ability and it can be changed. .

This is not always an easy concept to wrap ones head around. It most certainly is not as convenient of an idea as hereditary or being an illness. The real question is how do you stop OCD.

To stop OCD, the ideal situation is:

  • The person realizes they have a problem. People tend not to change if they don’t see a reason for it
  • The person is open to making changes in themselves. Most people with OCD tend to rigidly hold on to the things they know. Those who hold on tightly to the ideas of how they want things to be have difficulty letting go so things can be different
  • The person is willing to participate in the change process
  • The person has realistic expectations for making change. Many with OCD are impulsive, they want immediate change. They want what they want when they want it.
  • The person works with someone who can help them embrace their sensitivities and sticking points. Someone who will help them work through needed areas of change in a way they can accept and understand.

For those with obsessive thoughts, this is often asking a lot. They want to change but already deal with internal conflicts and overwhelm. These are underlining considerations for those seeking OCD treatment. The best choice is a therapist who will provide a dynamic environment allowing the needed steps to be achieved with minimal discomfort, yet be adaptable enough to guide the client out of their zone of familiarity

Simple cut and dry answers don’t usually work for complex situations

To be in disorder or to have a disorder, means change is required in the system; some aspects of the person will benefit from readjustment or restructuring. For unwanted thinking patterns, this means the awareness levels, processing abilities, strategies and communications channels of thoughts, emotions and behaviors need modification to become more effective, at least in certain places.

That idea can be scary for those with OCD. Many have a strong dislike for the unknown and are used to holding on to what they are familiar with. Yet this should be a comforting approach to embrace. It opens the possibility of stopping the tiresome battles of will power or self control, the feelings of hopelessness and being victim to ones own mind. The idea of being dependent to medication for the rest of their life can begin to slip away. Accepting OCD as a disorder, which allows for the person to restructure themselves makes it easier to accept the needed treatment for change and reconditioning.

But I Can’t Change

But then again, maybe you can. You most certainly no one will stop OCD by giving up. Trying is only half the journey. When the mind is overloaded, even the simplest of ideas  can seem overwhelming. Solutions are not found staying in discomfort. 

It’s not that a person can’t change, but their way of perceiving certain ideas or problems prevents them from understanding, accepting or interpreting what needs to change. These set patterns also have a strong connection to the emotional centers of the mind. Many studies have shown thought patterns and even the chemical composition of the mind change when thoughts are redesigned to effectively create solutions, when mindfulness is introduced and people are able to release negative emotions and make new neurological associations. The key to overcoming OCD is making sure the emotional aspects of the thought patterns become part of the change process. If not addressed, trying to stop OCD can be difficult.

97% is enough change

The field of epigenics has discovered that only about 3% of our DNA is set in stone. The other 97% is changeable. Thought patterns are always changeable. Emotional patterns are changeable. One way to stop OCD is to work on those things that can change. When ideas are locked in with no way out, some structural process of the persons thinking pattern needs to change. It may not be what the person wants to change, but given the alternative, it is a small price to pay.

At Designed Thinking we have been helping clients stop OCD, adequately diminishing its effects and doing so without the use of medication. Taking action can be scary, but to change, some form of action must be taken. Call the toll free number 866-718-9995 or leave a comment below.

 

 

41 Comments

  1. I am so glad to have found this website. For most of my life, I’ve been suffering with many symptoms of OCD; those being contamination OCD, and hoarding (it’s ironic, I know, but I don’t like to let stuff go, especially old school work paper and drawings). After starting high school, I study incessantly and work too hard to get good grades (which in the long run, is beneficial…I guess). Recently, I started getting intrusive thoughts (sacrilegious and violent), as well as the irrational fear of the number 9.
    In the past year, the contamination OCD seemed to have worsened. I disinfect the house everyday,and I avoid touching certain areas that I know people often touch. For example: I never open door handles with my hands, but with my feet (so weird, I know). When in public, I’ll use my hands, but I go to wash my them immediately. I never leave the house without a Sanitizer bottle; and I wash/sanitize my hands more than 30 times a day.
    And this will me sound terrible: I don’t like to be near people, especially my brother. Like, I actually make an attempt to avoid him. I never use the bathroom that he normally uses; I never eat the food that he eats; I disinfect everything that he touches, and I try to be as far away from him as possible. But, in truth, I love him a lot. I wish things didn’t have to be that way.
    I told my parents about the symptoms that I think I have; but they just dismiss them. My mom says that I’m making something out of nothing, and my dad says I’m obsessing over absolutely nothing. They won’t take me to therapy for diagnosis, even after I asked. All of my siblings have emotional/mental disorders, so I believe they want me be that one child who is supposedly ‘normal’. I mean, it is understandable.
    I’m kind of scared to go to college. Even if I don’t have OCD,I know whatever this problem is will interfere with my school life and relationships.

    • Rinny
      It’s not uncommon for parents to down play the syptoms of OCD until it interferes with their lives. Those who have never had OCD often believe they are any other thought and that you should easily be able to control them.
      This issue probably not going to go away on its own and you may want to see if you can find someone to work with before going to college, otherwise a lot of your energy at college is going to be diverted to trying to cope with your obsessions. Since your praents aren’t going to help, you may have to do this on your own. I know you are resourceful person and can find a way to get some help

  2. I thought OCD could never really be stopped, that you have to be on medicationa and have therapy to control it

    • It is so easy to pigeon hole everyone with similiar conditions into the same box. When time is taken to explore what goes on underneath the rituals and obsessions, everyone does OCD differently.
      Can everyone stop their OCD without medication? Yes.
      Will everyone with OCD stop obsessing? No.
      Will changing ones way of thinking and dealing with stressful emotions take time and effort? Absolutely and the amount of time and effort it takes to release obsessive patterns varies from one person to the next. Many people want their OCD to go away, but wanting is not the same things as doing what needs to be done. Demanding something will stop is not the same things as having a willingness to change what needs to change in order to create different thinking patterns.
      Those with OCD can always change

  3. My son has suddenly become obsessed with bad words and his desire to say them. Along with them are thoughts of naked private parts and other random violent things. He constantly confessed that he is thinking about these bad thoughts and sometimes likes them and sometimes doesn’t but always seems ashamed of them. He is now constantly telling me he hates me…it he’s not sure. He says these thoughts are always in his head and have been for sometime now but he’s never wanted to tell us because he’s scared to get yelled at. But once he started confessing it’s been non stop. I read online about the bad- thought OCD. Could this be the case?? Could therapy help him? I have an appointment with his pcp for a referral to a child therapist. But any advice is appreciated. Also, I have a light case of OCD… The need to check things and recheck things obsessive thoughts of leaving the stove on etc… And my mom has an undiagnosed mental illness as well. Maybe it’s in his genes?

    • OCD is a complex challenge and there are no quick and easy answers. in order for the process of OCD to be effective in disrupting someones life, the persons own values are played against them. So one of things you can be rest assured is you son does not hate you.
      Dealing with children with OCD present additional challenges. You have limited options. Not many people work with OCD in children and most still want to medicate.
      The gene issue may come into play, but being predisposed to certain genetic traits does not mean the traits have to active. It does mean these are areas of sensitivities that may need special attention or need additional changes in how one deals with life.
      It sounds like your son has a high amount of guilt for the thoughts he is having. His confessions are him trying to lessen this.
      Therapy can help, but you have fewer options dealing with children than as adults.

  4. my son is 18 and has been diagnosed with severe ocd – at score 32 ( of the common measurement system). – it is almost but not entirely mental and mostly centres around violent thoughts. he has started cbt/erp but is not really engaging nor is he really accepting the diagnosis. He is very bright and very strong in mind and body. he says he will fix it his way – but that is by doing more compulsions. he has missed his last 2 yrs of senior school and hope of him going to university or working are fading fast.

    As an identical twin he has always been very aware of genetics especially as his father suffers clinical depression and his aunt schizophrenia and an uncle bipolar!!

    Your site refers to epigenics which he mentions a lot saying our genes can change and he can make his change ie he can rid himself of this mental health curse our families seem to have. If this is so then why won’t he engage in the treatment which has an absolutely proven high success rate? He has moments of insight then reverts back to the OCD and controlling his obsessions and compulsions – but it’s all inside his head except for the rare moments I can talk to him and try to get him to see there is a better way of dealing with his anxiety.

    I am wondering if I can somehow use his view in epigenics to convince him that the anxiety he feels in doing the cbt ( he hasn’t even started erp because his cbt and acceptance is not good enough yet to make it worthwhile) and being asked to think about and talk about his thoughts so the erp exercises can be designed will be worth it rid him of the distress he is living with now?

    when he is calm he accepts his logic is flawed but as he is stressing out nearly all the time I don’t get much time to talk to him calmly and reason with him. so i have to get to the point and have something very compelling to say or he thinks i am a moron and wasting his time! ( an ocd view!).

    please can you help at all?

    thanks

    • Karen
      One thing to keep in mind with those suffering with OCD is they can be very stubborn, which makes sense, since they are constantly battling themselves trying to shut out a part of their thinking process. It also creates all sorts of others issues that get in the way of healing
      As with most people with OCD, your sons logic is flawed when it comes to his own problems. He may continue on this path until the obsessions completely overwhelm him and even then he may drag his feet for help.
      People with OCD are often resistant to change and when helping someone get over OCD, this resistence may need to be addressed. Could you use his logic to get him into treatment. Sure, but it will probably take more than that.
      Real changes in the mind, thinking patterns and behaviors are not consciously willed, they are processes that for the most part happen outside conscious awareness. All healing takes the cooperation of the client. He is the one in charge of his own decisions, but that doesn’t mean his decisions are useful. Fighting with his ideas has you pitting yourself against him, which isn’t going to work
      Respect his position and start from there. This is why he thinks you are a moron, because you are not willing to meet him at his place of logic.
      First ask him what timeframe he thinks he can make these changes by himself. How long is he willing to give himself before he realizes he doesn’t have all the answers? You want a specific time. Many with OCD will always have the answer around the next corner, but they never get to that place.The timeframe he gives needs to be resonable, not something like 5 years from now
      Once you have a time frame, get him to commit to going to a program and completely engaging in the process if he hasn’t solved the issue. Get the parameters of how he will know he has figured this out himself.
      His anxiety towards CBT or any other therapy comes because it is a big unknown. Logic doesn’t work because he distrusts his own thoughts and when one distrusts their own thoughts it is hard to trust the judgment of others. He is trying to make sense of himself and the world but has no real idea of where he stands within himself. His actions are typical of those with OCD

  5. Hey there!!! I’m for tfoureen years old recently I have developed a form of ocd mentally I have unwanted thoughts that just won’t go away I have a skykologist I go and see and shes great I still have a hard time with these thoughts that scare me thwy rangle from cutting yourself to suiscide to anorexia to harming somebody I know I would never do ant of these things but they still disturber me help please

    • Rachel
      Glad you are working with someone who you feel comfortable with. Overcoming OCD can take some time. I don’t know what approach your counselor is providing and it is hard to give any useful feedback without knowing a bit more about your situation. OCD thoughts are disturbing, not because you will follow through with the obsession, but because they feel real. With OCD you are fighting yourself. Give your therapy some time. If you don’t see improvement, you can always change counselors

  6. Hi everyone,

    To start off I have always had some form of mild ocd. Touching,counting or intrusive thoughts. Fortunately all of the above have not been an issue in years.
    That being said, I recently over the last few months for some reason keep seeing my nose in my line of sight and it’s driving me nuts! I have had something similar to this years ago and it simply dissipated. What would be the best strategy to help me get this out of my mind. The more I think about it the more aware of it I become and so on.
    Thanks in advance for your advice and kindness!

    • John
      Very often, the part of the obsession we most notice is our awareness. Focusing on anything we can’t do anything about of course is counter productive. But obsessions are driven by emotions and OCD becomes a form of a distraction that kicks in when we are overloaded by stress.
      What is stressful for you and how you create stress is of course a very individualized process. Now hopefully these obsessions will follow the path of your other ones, which is they we resolve on there own. Take a look at your currrent life circumstance, notice your stresses and decide if these are likely to resolve or are they going to be ongoing. If they are going to be ongoing, the obsessions may stick around for a while. If you have goine through some major stresses, they may stick around for awhile.
      It is always easiest to work with a professional to help yourself make changes in you, yet the fact is, most people with OCD resist getting help until they can no longer cope with their obsessions. They either feel it is not a big deal, they are embarased about their situation, they want to do it all on their own, etc.
      You are looking for the trick, the magic bullet to get you through this and that is understandable. But you really want to make changes in yourself. I understand that when you are not obsessing, you feel life is OK and it isBut right now you nervous system is telling you something is not OK
      That being said, you have a few options if you choose to DIY. You can get on medication (always my last choice), you can keep yourself busy (thus distracting your focus elsewhere), you can try and embrace your obsessions (in your case, stop fighting with need to control your focus and accept your focus is not bad or wrong) or you can buy some books on strategies.
      Good luck

      • Hi Michael,

        Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post. So much of your feedback made sense to me. I lost my Mom last year and a cousin to suicide about 7 years ago. I assume these were stressors at some level for me. As for my current situation, I have a great job, wife I love dearly and 3 beautiful children.
        My wife actually gave birth to our son 3 weeks ago today. I think for myself the real issue is that I want this current obsession with seeing my nose to stop so badly that it’s all I think about and in turn I keep thinking it. I’ve noticed that when I stop “fighting” it impacts me much less and even disappears til I realize it’s been awhile and the it starts again. As for meds I never really considered it to be honest as I do t feel it is something I need to get over this hump. I was considering seeing a professional to see what they thought.
        I have read that everybody can actually see their nose however the brain actually chooses to simply ignore it. I think that when it comes to OCD it just gets hard to become unstuck whether it’s the nose thing or any other thought/obsession or compulsion.
        Thanks again for your response my friend!

        John

  7. Great article.

    I would like to hear your opinion on the issue I struggle with these days.

    I was born and raised in an ultra orthodox Jewish family, and the earliest OCD symptoms I can remember started when I was 12 years old. From about the age of 14-15 I started developing extreme religious OCD symptoms, some of which interfered with my ability to perform certain fundamental religious rituals and some incurred extreme feelings of guilt on me.

    An event that occurred when I was 15 caused me to believe that I was subjected to be killed by GOD and thus
    I was feeling that I shouldn’t pray anymore.

    I remember once calling a Rabbi to ask him about a question I had regarding the Jewish law, not knowing that it was OCD.
    In retrospect I believe that had the Rabbi sensed from the nature of the question that it’s OCD I would have ended up seeking help much much sooner.

    Nevertheless, at some point I started getting more and more comfortable with the feeling of guilt so I stopped feeling as guilty and thought that GOD will surely forgive me considering the circumstances. It’s then when the real nightmare began,a whole new category of OCD symptoms started to develop, and unlike my prior religious symptoms, the new ones had nothing to do with religion.

    I developed very strong contamination OCD, or fears, that led me to seek help. Long story short, after a couple of years of struggle, at times even despair, I managed with the help of therapist number 1 to overcome OCD and learn how to avoid the thinking path that leads to fear of touching, eating, ovens, knives etc.

    Now, at that point I was vaccinated from most physical OCD, so the therapist didn’t see a point in my coming to him, even though I didn’t feel cured, but there were no tangible symptoms to base the therapy on.

    After I stopped therapy I began to develop concerns about the way I live life and other recurring concerns didn’t let go. Exhausted from the years and frustrated with religion I started to give up religion altogether while staying with my parents, which means that externally I was(and am) still religious. After consulting several Rabbis, one referred me to therapist number 2. This therapist enlightened me with the fact that my current concerns are in fact also OCD. But, more importantly, this therapist told me that OCD is the symptom not the problem itself and after going through my history we indeed found some troubling things that occurred in my family when I was young.

    The problem is that my therapist tells me that if I want to get better I have to change, which means that first I have to be myself, which means being openly not-religious.
    Now, that’s far beyond my ability since I’m still with my parents (I’m now 22 years old) but my therapist, often raising his voice, keeps on telling me “live your life!” which kind of wakes me and I walk out of his clinic determined to change; needless to say, I lose the motivation and strength as soon as I face the reality of what it may entail.

    What is your opinion? do you think I can change even if it seems unrealistic to me? How would you approach the religion issue, since I feel that the inside of me still wants to be religious.

    • Motty
      People with OCD tend to have areas in their life where their thought processes are somewhat black and white. They make generalizations which may be useful in some parts of their life, but overall tend to inhibit choice. Generalizations by their very nature inhibit choice, which eventually creates conflict.
      Unfortunately, to combat OCD, many therapeutic approaches take black and white approaches to assist clients. Again, these can help in some places, but eventually these generalizations will bring up conflicts within the client.
      Your therapist is right in that the OCD is the symptom. He is also right that you will need to change. But change is seldom all or nothing, it comes in gradients. What he is asking of you does not need to be all or nothing. Religion is not a set practtce, all you have to do is look at the different views people have on faith. There are ways you probably could modify your approach to expressing, or not expressing religion. Being yourself will come in many formats, which of course is held together by being honest with oneself. This is where you seem to be conflicted, what you feel and what you express are not congruent. You need to find a way to become congruent. But it is not reasonable that consciously deciding you want to be different in this area is going to make you change. Some part of you is emotionally invested in your beliefs and until these concerns are addressed in a way that satisfies you subconscious, your emotional needs, you probably will stay conflicted.
      This is what drives the complexity of OCD therapy, that there are many layers of ideas that need to be addressed in a way that allows a person change in a way that is congruent with all of themselves. Some people feel this is not possible, but it happens all the time. That is the nature of changing our relationship with ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions, the complete package of who we are.
      There is a lot more going on here than what was addressed in this exchange and there are other areas that may need to be addressed first before you can begin making changes in yourself. Hope this sheds some light on your situation

      • Very helpful. Thank you very much!

  8. Thanks for the info, but how does someone get unwanted thoughts just to stop. I don’t want theory, I want actionable steps to take, formulas to follow that will give me success. I have had this for years and therapists don’t understand my situation, give me steps that don’t work or they want to force their opinions on me. I have tried CBT, talk therapy, medication and even hypnosis and nothing works. So what do I do

    • The only way to answer your question is to start with some theory. I know it is not what you want to hear and maybe you are not ready to listen. These are decisions you will have to make, to how open you want to be in finding solutions that will work for you. Sounds like you have already decided how you are going to be fixed or cured. The question is “how is that working for you?”
      First you have to decide how you are going to view OCD. I suspect you have completely bought into the idea it is a disease or a genetic predisposition and that you believe these are fixed properties. What science has confirmed is the mind and nervous system are maluable and ever changing. This is not a new idea. But it is different from what mainstream medicine has taken and its implications at this time are not yet fully understood by most.
      What you want to understand is there is a relationship of thoughts, emotions, sensitivities, awarenesses, conflicts, perceptions and more running within you at many levels. Relationships are never done right. I know that goes against what many have been taught to believe, but how to relate someone or something is an ongoing sequence of intereaction. To do something right is to have some stagnant outcome or finish. You want a preset sequence that you can control with your thought processes. That is a very limited way to relate to anything.
      You want to change? Well had better learn to relate to your thought processes differently, to how you see things and I am not talking about your OCD, I am talking about how you relate to aspects of yourself, to discomfort, to differences, to things beyond your preset ideas. If you can begin to change those, then you can begin to change how your obsessions occur.
      You probably are still not listening, so consider this. Is your OCD exactly the same from week to week, its intensity and frequency? While you may want to answer “yes”, it is only because most with OCD over generalize their perceptions instead of paying attention to the actual distinctions their nervous system is giving. They are so used to pushing negative ideas aside, they stop accurately hearing the feedback their mind and body gives.
      Old tricks of snapping rubberband on your wrists or trying think other things are ineffective, because the person is not relating differently to the discomforts of the mind and body. But you probably already know that. If you want your OCD to stop, you have to change and change is something people with OCD don’t generally like, unless they get to control the change. That is not life my friend.
      Stop trying to do it right. Stop looking for the magic bullet. Work with someone who understands your situation, who understands you and works with you in a way to help you change. Then you will have an opportunity to change your OCD

  9. Oh, where to start? I’m a stay at home mom to 4 beautiful kids under the age of 10. I’ve been drinking sifor 3 years, almost everynight, I always just thought of it as my way of unwinding every night. Staying at hone doing household chores and taking care of 5 other people all the time, I stopped worrying about/taking care of myself so much. I drank more, I gained weight, I stopped talking to friends and even family on a regular basis, I started thinking how fat and unnatractive I was becoming. I started thinking maybe Im not a good mother, or wife, or friend, etc. I’m not kind to myself, at all. I’m sure you’re wondering about the OCD part of this.. I’ve always had OCD tendencies, such as having to have things a certain way, but when my son started preschool this past August, something happened. I don’t know if I had finally worked myself into a nervous breakdown after years of f drinking, depression, loneliness, and self loathing or what, but my son started preschool and bam! I’m home with just a baby, doing the same thing I’ve done all day, everyday, for years, nobody to talk to, not even my 5 uear old anymore and I thought alot about how much I missed my son, how lonely I qas without him here. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I’d sent two other kids off to school before him and was fine. Here it is, please don’t judge.. I started having unwanted, very intrusive sexual thoughts about my son. I’d never had a thought like that about any child, let alone MY child. I cant even bear to watch or hear about stuff like that on the news yet here I am thinking like this? I beame very depressed and my dr. put me on antidepressants and anxiety meds.. I went to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with ocd. After a few sessions I felt better knowing Im not alone, and knowing I would NEVER, EVER hurt my babies anyway, so I stopped going. I have good days, but more bad lately. I’m anxious about EVER. LITTLE. THING. Anytime I get stressed about anything, it spmehow spirals back to the anxiety over OCD and my thoughts, which stresses me out and panics me even more. While in therapy, I was given a list of common intrusive OCD thoughts. Violently harming loved ones was one of them. That wasn’t originally my Obsessive thought, but the more I thought about it and freaked myself out thinking about the what if’s and horrifying thoughts associated with that one, the more unrelenting and full blown it became in my mind too. I cry everyday. I know the thoughts are irrational, I would give my own life for my husband and kids, and would definitely never hurt them, but why can’t I just let it go ?! It’s consuming my life. I’m withdrawn, sad, agitated, disgusted with myself, lonely, hurting. I just want to be normal again.. i don’t know how :(. I think the first syep is to stop drinking, and start loving myself.. stop being so negative.. but I’m just so mentally damaged and exhausted right now, I don’t know where to start.

    • Chels
      Acting is ways we do not want to act while our thoughts and emotions overrun us is never an envious place to be. You can look at it as being mentally ill or you can recognize it as it as having thoughts and emotions that are not able to support you.
      OCD and addictions often run hand in hand. Neither one is overcome by doing things a right way or by just following a set of techniques. But both can be dealt with because people can change. I would go back into therapy. That is a long term commitment you have to make and leaving therapy after you feel good for a few weeks is not a real commitment. If you want to change, it will take time and effort on your part. You are changing the relationship you have with yourself, your sensitivities, your thoughts and emotions. It is not about fixing yourself, it is about finding more supportive ways of being you.
      Also stop reading about OCD. Those who worry or obsess, in their vulnerable state take on traits of the things they read about. You don’t need to know more, you need to get help.
      One last things; OCD plays your values against you, that is what makes them feel so overwhelming. The good news is you will never go through with the obsessive thoughts, because you values are still intact

  10. I have a weird form of OCD I believe that if I don’t do certain tasks eg. Swallowing washing hands multiple times washing dishes a certain way I will go back to times that I didn’t like and were bad times in my life. So I do these things in order not to be the person at that time. It’s been a damn struggle and I just want this to stop. I just don’t know how?

    • First your form of OCD is not that weird and in fact variations of this are fairly common.
      Now, the question everyone asks is “How do I make this stop?” OCD is a complex challenge, it is difficult to work on it by yourself. Seek professional assistence, really, you will be doing yourself a favor. Whether you choose CBT or the Designed Thinking approach, you need to get some help. Even though your OCD is fairly common, the mechanism running OCD is different for each person. This difference is why want professional help
      Goof Luck

  11. My 17 year old daughter was officially diagnosed with OCD about 5 months ago. Her symptoms started 4 months before that. Her OCD seems a bit different from others I hear about. She fears contamination, but only in our house. Something happened at school all those months ago that created a “path” of contamination in her mind. Anything that was in contact with her that day, brought the contamination home with her, which in turn, gradually contaminated our whole house. ie. her binder sat on the counter, the plate touched the counter, the knife touched the plate, etc etc. At that time (her lowest point), she wanted therapy and wanted meds. The meds definitely helped her and things started to get easier. We then started therapy, but as soon as she started to hear things she didn’t want to hear, she was not interested in continuing. She won’t “let” the therapy help her. She is desperate to leave home and go off to University next fall. She thinks she will be much better upon leaving the “contaminated house” and claims that we need to let her work through it on her own without help. I am terrified that she will crash and burn if she leaves home without properly dealing with the OCD. At this point, we are on a waiting list for therapy and she is still taking the meds. Do you think since her main worry is within our house, that she WILL be ok once she leaves, or do you think she needs the therapy before heading out on her own. I fear that I won’t be able to get her to therapy when our time comes. I also feel that anytime I “push” the issue and tell her she still needs help, I increase her anxiety and make things worse. Should I just leave her be, and let her deal with it, like she says? …sad mom

    • I can understand your concern. Unfortunately there are no simple answers here. Stress tends to increase the nature of obsessions and going to college most certainly be stressful. That being said, I have worked with many OCD clients who have had contamination obsessions that were confined to one household or a particular area.
      The problem is you never know if, when, how or where these confined areas will spread or intensify. If your daughter is refusing or rejecting help, then there is little you can do. People with OCD can be very stubborn and narrow minded. Just like their obsessions, they can be locked into an idea of how they should get through their problem. You may just need to wait until she creates enough pain for herself or can no longer take the discomfort before she is willing to try a different approach, and even then, she will probably drag her feet.
      So to answer your question, “will she be OK if she leaves the house?” Maybe yes, maybe no

  12. I am afraid of germs, baterials and virus all the times, which causes me wash hand constantly after touching money, after being outside and etc. Is this OCD?

    • From your description, it does sound as if you have OCD. This is not going to go away on its own. Contamination obsessions can be quite intense, so you will want to seek professional help. You can beat this

      • What is Contamination obsessions? Is this a disease? Did you mean that I may have this Contamination obsessions? What kind of doctor I should see?

        Thanks a lot.

  13. My OCD seems to be worse with the amount of stress in my life. Money, relationships, legal problems, health, etc. all seem to activate it. My feeling is that the more secure I am in these areas the less OCD is prevalent. Give me a million dollars and I think it would be very minimal. I know this sounds simple, but I think its true nonetheless. Worry about life activates it. I know there are rich people who still have it, but a search of their life would probably uncover some major insecurity or threat that causes it. It is an indirect problem. Reduce the stress and it goes down. OCD is a stress induced problem. This at least, has been my experience.

  14. I have been dealing with OCD (Fear of Contamination) for over 20 years now. I briefly tried medications but stopped them after a year due to a 25lb weight gain, feeling numb towards my family and sexual loss.

    I am actively seeing a psychiatrist but have not started CBT yet. I am thinking of combining my CBT session with also seeing a hypnotist and somehow integrating the two.

    I have been searching the internet for some type of success stories on OCD and hypnotism and have found very few ( 1 or 2) I finally came upon this site and figured I would ask if you have any experience or advice in this considering my therapist seems doubtful.

    • Ethel,
      With OCD, seeking help from multiple sources can be beneficial. As far as using hypnosis, I will give you my perspective as a trained hypnotherapist and someone who has work extensively with OCD clients for well over a decade.

      The field of hypnosis operates under the assumption that the subconscious mind can produce solutions when the conscious thinking process has been minimized. Usually this is true. The problem for those with OCD is the enormous disconnect that has occurred between their conscious and subconscious mind, between cognitive throughts and emotional states. Those with OCD do not really trust their emotional or mental signals (they spend much of the time fighting their thoughts or trying to stay busy through distractions). If you don’t trust you can effectively handle your own thoughts and emotions, you keep your guard up. It’s not that those with OCD can’t go into a trance, it’s that their subconscious has put up more barriers. Many with OCD are impatient, want instant results, and that is not likely to happen.

      Most hypnotherapist make the mistake of trying to work directly on the obsessions. The problem is the obsessions are distractions and not the root problem (it’s why some will obsess one subject matter one month and then another the next).
      With OCD, there are many factors that need to be addressed to unify the persons conscious / unconscious processes. Most hypnotherapists have no understanding of how OCD is created in the nervous system and the complexities of what keeps it together.

      The principles of hypnosis however are sound. The knowledge of how the subconscious mind responds and actually works can be very helpful tools in helping clients overcome their emotional and mental patterns. But others principles are usually needed and be balanced in in order for effective change to occur and too much change to quickly will be rejected by the subconscious mind if it is not ready to change.
      Luckily there are ways of incorporating all these principles in a way to allow for real change when the therapist and client work together and establish workable ways of integrating thought and emotion.

  15. My son (age 12) has severe OCD and everyone what to put him on medication. I am extremely opposed to medications, especially for children. All the therapists we have seen insist this be part of the treatment. What can I do?
    Troubled Mother

    • Intense obsessive thoughts can always be altered, but there are many opposing ideas as to how to approach a condition as complex as OCD. While there are some programs aimed at children with OCD, these approaches tend to mimic the overall mindset of our medical community today, which is to medicate. At Designed Thinking, we do not work with those under the age of 17, but not a week goes by where a parent or loved one calls in asking for alternatives for their children. Severe OCD in children in disheartening and while we are also against medication as a means for helping people change, the main focus to keep in mind is the desire to get the child in a state of mind where they can function in life and society. Extreme conditions sometimes take extreme measures to overcome.
      There is no easy answer for your question. Keep looking and keep your mind open

      • When I was 11 years old I started having several OCD thoughts. They were debilitating I felt overwhelming guilt and was constantly doing obsessive actions. These included moving rocks off of the sidewalk and pushing chairs in so far the would be tilting. I realize I always had some OCD tendencies as a child but after my grandfather died if cancer when I was 10 they escalated to a level that made everyday life nearly impossible. My mom made the choice to place let a doctor place me on medication. While it was hell finding the right ones, some of them made me a zombie ( I don’t remember much of the first 6 months if meds) eventually we found a medication that worked for me. The medication did encourage weight gain though. Before the meds I was a healthy thin child as the years went on I became obese) however at age 21 I decided to try to wean if the meds. I have lost the weight and since I was treated as a child my OCD is still under control even without meds. Definitely try CBT first but if not try combining with meds. A lot of children if treated properly can get it to a manageable level at adulthood. As I did. I wish you and your child success and remember don’t give up!

  16. Great article here!
    My wife suffered a mental breakdown about 3 years ago. She was changing over to a new job, it was a step in a new direction. Everyone else wanted her to have this job more than she ever did herself. It was a lot of change from payroll and book keeping switching into more social engagements and speaking roles. She was there for 3 months and then she just shut down.
    This is where her OCD started. We have seen 4 diff therapists, tried 10 to 12 different medications. The cocktail of med’s alone have made her gain close to 80 pounds. Cognitive Behavioral therapy made her condition 10 times worse. We know that now. This type of therapy was asking questions about her fears and triggers that just exploded them even larger over time. Looking back we would have done many things different.
    I think I know her mental procedures now better then she does at times.
    I loved Psychology in school wanted to major in it but I felt all therapy was leaving care for the soul out of the picture all together. Life is not so matter of fact. Life is a Beautiful thing.
    Therapists will say they are suffering from Compulsive thoughts. This is Not at all true. Rather they are living a life of Fears, Worries and Doubts. Period.
    Fears have taken over. Worries fuel the mind and Doubts steal the show. Time and Time again every part of this Dis-Ease gets worse and worse until all sense of the original true self has eroded to the point of pure and constant self dissapoinment. Hesitation and self disgust are now King over Self Love.
    These people are now broken Souls. They need new types of love and stronger protection. They need to re-define what safety and true happiness really means to them. For some cases of OCD, I think there sense of self was probably never fully developed at the proper age, it can be halted due to familial or environmental stress. My wife is doing much better now, she is down to 1 medication and she is beginning to see clearly again, no longer troubled by the illusion of Fears.
    I have started to write a book titled “OCD- The Out of Control Disorder.” I am a visual person, so I have started use a set of visual scenarios that I think really helped to give my wife different perspectives on her point of view. The subconscious is a protection process. It is always running. It is meant to take over when free-thought does not exist. Everyones thoughts are always free and pure, Do not let people tell you your thoughts are wrong. Miracles and dreams of creative expression happen every single day!
    Please start by reading a little Gem of a book called “Power of Will” by Frank Channing Haddock written in 1907. You can take back control but first you have to redefine your lost sense of Will and redefine your faith in the love of Christ!

    • The core issues lurking behind OCD are not of the mind, rather emotional discomfort that cannot, will not or does not have a means of resolving. If the emotional components and conflicts behind OCD are not addressed and incorporated into the change work, one a few things tends to happen. The persons symptoms get worse, the symptoms change into something else or the person spends the rest of their life fighting to control aspects of themselves through will power. With the latter, they may feel they have achieved some sense of control, but it tends to be an illusion, as the conscious mind is still trying to overpower the unconscious processes of emotoions. It is why many will end up taking medications for the rest of their lives.
      Thanks for your insights

  17. I have not been diagnosed with OC but think i might have OCD thoughts. I constantly over analyse everything and worry about everything too. specially with my health, i am always getting checked out- any little thing and i am at the doctors thinking it could be life threatening. I feel i am such a paranoid person about life threating things, my boyfriend, crossing the road, and plugs. when leaving the house i check to make sure i have turned off the plugs at least twice (not as much as a typical person with ocd i guess) when i have had a drink and maybe little bits i cant remember of my night i doubt myself and think i would do something terrible- like sleep with someone else, smoke or take drugs (none of which i have ever done before) i constantly doubt myself for days or weeks. i would then go and get myself checked out just incase somethng idi hapen and i might have an STI (again something i have never had, and had lots of test all the time). i am fed up feeling sick and anxious and worried about everything. i would happily have CBT- i know alot about it as funnily enough i have an honors degree in psychology. its just the money situation to pay to see one. ???

    • You know aspects of yourself need to change or your life will remain uncomfortable, so you should never stop yourself from seeking to better yourself. You are in a situation many people face, which is needed therapy is not sought due to financial circumstances. It’s a valid concern, but many believe they can’t afford healthy foods, yet they still eat. So while you may not be able to afford the kind of therapy you want, you can still work on changing yourself.
      Unfortunately in todays information driven society, much of the information is misunderstood or wrong. Even many traditional tried and true phsychological doctrines are being questioned these days.
      Many CBT approaches still rely on medication. Your general doctor can prescibe those.
      If you choose to go medication free (always preferred where possible), work on the underlining problems that are there even without the OCD. You doubt yourself, meaning your mind doesn’t trust your emotions or visa versa. Don’t look to deal with problems by pushing them aside, look to work through them.
      I know these are vague answers, but they are a start – good luck

  18. I have suffered with mild OCD for 9 years, and am now a teenager. My family and I have seen a psychiatrist a few times, but have stopped as my symptoms decreased. I no longer have any compulsions.. instead, I have developed changing obsessive thoughts. Some last for hours, some days, but either way they bother me a lot. No medication has been taken yet. I want to try some natural healing ways first. Would you recommend introducing some relaxation exercises into my daily routine, meditation perhaps? I know there is CBT I can continue with, but for now I really want to give my mind a break. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Again, thank you for telling me that I can..and I will..change my OCD.

    • OCD often transforms from one compulsion or obsession to another, so your situation is fairly common.
      As for relaxation, you can check the article on OCD and meditation. One of the problems with OCD is it tends to overwhelm the person and their entire focus goes to getting away from the discomfort rather than focusing on the real issues underneath. While I applaud you for trying to deal with the OCD without medication, only trying relaxation techniques seems like another way of minimizing discomfort instead of taking proactive action.
      I am wondering why you are choosing to avoid therapy. The OCD is what is not letting your mind take a break. There is an internal civil war going on inside you. It seems like a nice idea that wars would be stopped by just telling everyone to relax, but unfortunately that is not the way it usually works.
      OCD is a complex issue and working with it on many levels is usually the best approach. I know it can be overwhelming and sometimes you just want to get away from it. The problem is you can’t run away from your own thoughts. Use relaxation techniques in conjunction with your therapy.

  19. Everyone wants to feel they have control of aspects of their life, including some handle on unwanted thoughts and emotions. We will be offer more in the future. There is always a caveat for all techniques, they are only as good our ability to use them and unfortunately they are easy to misapply

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