How to reduce OCD symptoms

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

OCD can be hell

OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder can certainly feel like hell. Nobody might able to understand the person with OCD well except the one who has experienced it before.

I said earlier in many of my articles that the reason i got into psychology was that i was trying to help myself out of the numerous psychological problems i had in year 1999.

OCD can cause extreme feelings of discomfort as long as you are not doing your regular checks or related rituals. As soon as you get a relief after doing those checks you might feel good for sometime but shortly the discomfort strikes again and you get a strong urge to repeat the checks all over again.

Because OCD is one of the extremely unpleasant disorders a person can get i decided to write an article to help you know how to reduce the symptoms of OCD.

Please note that this article won't cover the causes of OCD since this was already covered in my other article The psychological causes of obsessive compulsive disorder.

How to reduce OCD symptoms

Here is how you can reduce the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder:

  • 1) Avoid all kinds of triggers: If you paid attention to how OCD works you will find that in many cases the feelings of discomfort happen right after you come across a certain kind of trigger. While it might not be possible to avoid all of the triggers that lead to those obsessive thoughts certainly you can work on avoiding as many ones as you can. When you avoid those triggers the OCD cycle won't start and so you will experience less symptoms. See also What triggers worrying
  • 2) Fix the bigger problem if possible: Sometimes obsessive thoughts happen as a result of a bigger unsolved problem. In such a case the person focuses on one side effect of the problem and keeps checking on it instead of realizing that solving the major problem is the way out. For example a person might keep checking on the lock of their door just because a part of them believes that this lock is not strong enough. In such a case there is no problem at all in buying a stronger and better lock in order to provide reassurance to the subconscious mind that this lock won't be broken. See also What causes obsessive checking
  • 3) Leave the unsafe environment: If you live in a relatively unsafe neighborhood then you might develop OCD as a result of the continues worrying. Now in such a case living under constant threat might have wired your mind to keep on doing obsessive checks on door locks. If moving to a safer enviroment is possible then it's certainly one of the things that can help you experience less OCD symptoms. See Why worrying is one form of OCD
  • 4) Avoid stress: Our memory works based on associations. Once you get stressed or anxious your mind will quickly recall anything related to stress and anxiety and this can include your obsessive thoughts. Living under constant stress is one of the things that can certainly make OCD symptoms worse. If you worked on reducing anxiety and stress you will also achieve the goal of reducing the symptoms of OCD. See also How to stop obsessive worrying and obsessive compulsive checking
  • 5) Resist the first urge if possible: Sometimes the first urge to check something isn't that strong. The real problem can happen when you start checking on something and during that time you notice many other triggers that force you to keep checking over and over. If you can resist the first check then you would have saved yourself from a lot of the additional annoying thoughts. See How to stop checking things over and over

Why it is important to reduce OCD symptoms

Your brain is very plastic. As you keep checking things over and over you wire your brain for more checking without realizing. The good news is that this pattern can also be reversed.

As you work on reducing the OCD symptoms your brain can wire itself back to the normal state and so your OCD might come to an end.

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