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What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), once considered a type of anxiety disorder, is now regarded as a potentially disabling illness that traps people in endless cycles of repetitive thoughts, behaviors and rituals that can interfere with normal activities.

Symptoms of OCD include obsessions (such as fear of dirt or contamination by germs or the need for order, symmetry or exactness) and compulsions (such as repeatedly showering or washing hands, refusing to shake hands or touch doorknobs, or repeatedly checking things, such as the stove.

Although the exact cause of OCD is not fully understood, some scientists think that OCD arises from problems in the pathways of the brain that link areas dealing with judgment and planning with another area that filters messages involving body movements.

OCD afflicts about 3.3 million adults and about 1 million children and adolescents in the U.S. The disorder usually first appears in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. It occurs about equally in men and women and affects people of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds.



How to Deal with OCD

As people live their lives with OCD, they have beneficial ways to not let it effect them. Here are 5 tips on how people with OCD deal with it:

Tip 1: Control Your Anxiety

People that have OCD are likely to experience high levels of anxiety. The reason why it happens is because if they mess up on one thing that they are highly obsessed with, then they start to experience high anxiety. For example, an OCD person is obsessed with going down one path but if he/she decides to take another path, then their anxiety level starts to increase. However, their anxiety levels can be reduced by learning how to cope. A coping technique for example would be analyzing something that could happen in the future that a person could be worried about.





Tip 2: Train Yourself on Being Mindful

The definition for mindfulness is when a person is being fully aware of their surroundings in the present moment. For someone that has OCD, this a great tip because it has a couple of ways to control your OCD. The first way is to block out any thoughts that lead to the trigger, which similar to conquering a fear. And the second way is to be more focused on your surroundings. These techniques can help an OCD person overcome their challenges that they face in their everyday lives.





Tip 3: Try Relaxation Methods

Today, people are finding more ways to feel more relaxed, including for those that have OCD. According to some studies, relaxation methods are the best techniques for those kinds of people. These techniques involve breathing, meditation, and muscle relaxation. Those relaxation methods can boost their self-helping skills when dealing with OCD.






Tip 4: Do Some Exercises

Exercising is very important for every single person. You always want to be active every day making sure that you are staying in shape. Now if you have OCD, this is a helpful way to boost your self-helping skills and reducing your symptoms. There is evidence that running is important for a person that has OCD because it is a way to boost their self confidence.





Tip 5: Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is another very important factor for every person. But for people that have OCD, it is very important to them because it can help them reduce their symptoms. There are certain types of foods they can have and not have. These foods that they can have are seeds, nuts, protein, fruits, and vegetables. However, they stay away from caffeine, soda, alcohol, and energy drinks.






OCD Resources:

The mission of the International OCD Foundation mission is to help all individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder and related disorders to live full and productive lives. The organization works to increase access to effective treatment, end the stigma associated with mental health issues, and foster a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them.

Founded in 1994, Beyond OCD is a nonprofit organization that provides resources to help sufferers cope with and conquer OCD, works to increase public and professional awareness of OCD, educates and supports those with OCD and their families, and encourages research into new treatments and a cure.

The Peace of Mind Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help improve the quality of life of OCD sufferers and caregivers through education, research, support, and advocacy. Founded by the Linda and Jim McIngvale family at the request of their daughter Elizabeth, the Foundation created and fully subsidizes the OCD Challenge, an online self-help website for those suffering from OCD.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), aims to increase awareness about mental illnesses and improve the quality of life of individuals suffering from them. Its website defines anxieties, including OCD, and discusses the medications and therapies used to treat these illnesses.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety disorders, including OCD, and to improving the lives of all people who suffer from them through education, practice, and research.