Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder where an individual has intrusive thoughts or obsessions and subsequently responds with compulsive behavior. They often feel anxious without due cause and experience distressing thoughts that enslave them to specific activities, for example, keeping things aligned in perfect symmetry or other perfectionist behaviors.
Once a person has completed their compulsive ritual, they may feel better temporarily. However, the next time these thoughts or obsessions arise, the anxiety creeps in and the cycle continues to the point where the individual feels like their behaviors are out of control.
OCD symptoms can affect all aspects of a person’s life, including work, school, and relationships. OCD symptoms can either improve or worsen over time. But, if a person is able to recognize that they are experiencing intrusive thoughts or are unable to control their behavior, they may be able to take steps to help themselves.
Individuals often find that their OCD symptoms get worse when they are stressed. In order to combat this, it is important to learn how to manage stress by implementing coping strategies, or by developing emotional resilience. Of course, this is easier said than done. Understanding what your triggers are—and their effects on your behavior—can help you prevent stress from building up to a point where it takes control over your actions. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you gain more awareness of and control over the connection between your mind and body.
Relaxation and Mindfulness
One of the best ways to improve OCD self-help skills is to learn and regularly practice relaxation techniques. By incorporating these exercises into the daily routine, individuals suffering from OCD are bound to see improvements in stress levels and a reduction in anxiety. Three different techniques that can be practiced are:
- Deep breathing
- Mindfulness meditation
- Progressive muscle relaxation
Sleep, Diet, and Exercise
So many mental health issues are exacerbated by not getting enough sleep. Sticking to a sleep routine can help increase the quality of your sleep. This means taking the time to wind down before bedtime. Try avoiding cell phones, laptops, and TV for at least an hour before bed. Alcohol, caffeine, and food with a lot of sugar can also disrupt sleep.
When it comes to diet, what we eat not only plays a significant role in our physical health but in our mental and emotional health, as well. Until recently, little emphasis has been placed on diet and the treatment of OCD. Studies have shown, however, that individuals who regularly consume refined carbs, sugar, and processed meats have higher rates of mental health issues. This correlation is due to the way these highly-processed foods disrupt bacteria in the gut. Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, on the other hand, provides our bodies and brain with important nutrients and antioxidants to maintain healthy function.
Exercise is tied to improved memory, emotional regulation, and learning. With just 10 minutes a day of light exercise, you can make a huge impact on your mood and emotional health. Exercise is an effective way of reducing OCD stress and anxiety, and it also helps to refocus your mind if intrusive thoughts and compulsions begin to arise.
If you have OCD, it might be difficult for you to cope, and your intrusive thoughts may make it hard for you to function in your daily life. When symptoms like this are persistent and become unmanageable beyond these self-help suggestions, it is best to speak with a mental health professional. There are many additional treatment options, such as ketamine infusions, that can also help with your symptoms.
Contact Tahoe Ketamine
Tahoe Ketamine offers ketamine infusions and IV vitamin therapy to support mental health and general wellness. If you are curious about either of these innovative treatments, please contact us using the brief form below.