11 Minutes

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If you or a dear one has been newly diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you may be wondering how long will the treatment take to improve the symptoms and/or completely recover from OCD. OCD is a chronic disorder, which implies you will likely be dealing with it (to a certain degree) for your entire life.

Sadly, there is no cure for OCD, but with effective treatment, most people with the disorder can gain significant control over their symptoms.

Although if your OCD is under control, various signs of OCD can resurface, especially if you do not utilize the coping methods you acquired in psychotherapy and/or give up on any prescription OCD drugs.

You are more likely to feel well if you seek therapy for your OCD symptoms as soon as possible. Numerous difficulties are encountered in the treatment of OCD, and so many people with OCD do not receive the care they require to feel their best. 

As an outcome, be sure you speak up for yourself, approach your symptoms seriously, and seek assistance if you’re having difficulties finding the correct resources or medical professionals. It is a form of disease much like any other.

Seeking Professional Assistance

Consult a therapist. Regular sessions with a trained therapist or counselor may aid in the reduction of anxiety that contributed to OCD. OCD rituals are frequently employed to help the sufferer relax. A counselor may be able to teach you skills to help you cope with your fears.

Request the names of trusted therapists from friends and relatives. Look for tips on the internet as well.

Take cognitive behavioral therapy into consideration. If your therapist thinks it’s a good idea, try cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. You might find new methods to react to the triggers as time goes on.

Your therapist will use CBT to help you discover new strategies to deal with these responsibilities in your life. These will progressively become tougher as you advance.

How To Stop Obsessive Thoughts

Involving relatives or acquaintances in your treatment can be beneficial. They can assist you in practicing your exposure as well as offer you support and encouragement.

Take your medicine. Medication is frequently used to aid people with OCD. Antidepressants are commonly prescribed by therapists to help alleviate the worries and sensations linked with OCD. Psychiatric drugs may also be used by therapists to aid some individuals.

An antidepressant may be prescribed by the therapist. Be patient, since finding the proper drug and dose can require some trial and error.

Unpleasant side effects such as nausea diminished sexual drive, or weight gain may occur as a result of medications. Consult your doctor to determine which medications, if any, are appropriate for you.

Enroll in a treatment center recovery program. If your complaints are serious or outpatient therapy is still not working, think about staying in a rehab center. Treatment and support are available at all hours of the day and night. When you can’t regulate your symptoms and can’t function in your daily life, this is beneficial.

If you think this will help, speak to your therapist about it. They might be able to direct you to a treatment center and assist you in getting admission.

Don’t rely on your service provider to do the legwork for you. Investigate treatment facilities to see which one is best for you.

Caring for Your Physical and Mental Health

Face your fears. When it comes to OCD, one popular treatment usually is to face the fear rather than run away from it. Rather than avoiding your ideas, confront them. This may help you figure out what’s causing them, and you might be able to get rid of them.

Put together a list of your thoughts. Bringing them out in the open may help you forget about them. Your notes may also assist you in your treatment.

Try not to stop your thoughts from entering your mind. The harder you fight to keep things away, the more probable they are to reappear, escalating your fear.

Accept the thoughts as they are. Accepting that you’ll have these anxiety-inducing ideas can actually relieve the worry that comes with the prospect of having them. The trick is to understand that you don’t have to accept the thoughts’ dreaded conclusion. Remind yourself that you’re not fighting the catastrophic catastrophes you’re terrified of; instead, you’re fighting your ideas.

Tell yourself that every notion you’ve had in your life has failed to materialize. As a result, the odds of these thoughts coming true are small to none.

“Only because I think it, doesn’t mean it’s true,” you can say. When your thoughts are filled with fear or concern, repeat this mantra.

Refrain from succumbing to the rituals. Rituals are commonly used by people with OCD to make them feel better about the stress and anxiety they are facing. Their concerns and anxieties are frequently eased within a few minutes. Choosing to just get through the anxiety rather than executing rituals to get over it may help the OCD better in the long run.

In response to prevention and exposure therapy, this form of treatment is used. It requires a lot of mental effort, but with the support of a therapist, it may be quite beneficial.

When you’re experiencing intense compulsions, try deep breathing.

Counting to 100 out loud may also be beneficial. Before you succumb to the compulsion, try getting farther up the number line.

Get adequate sleep, eat healthily, and exercise regularly. Taking good care of yourself mentally and physically is an important part of OCD recovery. Exercising on a daily basis can help relieve some of the stress and worry you’re experiencing. Good sleep might help you avoid some of the stressors you could face. It can also help improve mood and think more clearly. For most individuals with OCD, reducing stress is also beneficial in treating symptoms.

When it comes to becoming physically and psychologically well, eating a good diet is equally critical. Consult your clinician about any supplements or vitamins you might require.

Make time for leisure on a daily basis as well. Therapy and exposure practice is beneficial, but they can be emotionally taxing. Take some time to relax, refresh, and unwind.

Getting Support

Become a member of a support group. Join a support network specifically designed for people who deal with OCD. Talking to people about what you’re going through can make you feel less alone. It may also make recommendations for how to deal with the problem.

Ask your therapist if there are any local support groups that they may advise. You might also attend one through the internet.

Consult with your friends and relatives. When you’re having trouble managing your symptoms, talk to someone you can trust. Don’t be afraid to confide in someone you can trust and who won’t judge you. When you’re terrified, they might be able to provide you with some insight and help you get through it.

You can tell your friend, “I am frequently late for class because I must do these rituals before leaving my home. I just want you to be aware of my situation.”

Friends and relatives can also hold you accountable for completing exposures and offer you encouragement and support when you meet difficulties.

Put in the effort. When you’re at home, your psychotherapist may give you chores to complete. Make sure you follow through with them, since they may aid in your rehabilitation. Skipping work may stymie your growth.

In order to heal from OCD, you must be consistent and persistent, therefore do something that pushes you every day.

Even if the schoolwork is difficult or you don’t think it will benefit you, you must complete it. It’s probably affecting you in ways you’re not aware of.

The number of treatment sessions you have will depend on a range of factors, such as the intensity of your symptoms and how much they are interfering with your life. However, it is common to have sessions twice weekly at the beginning of therapy to help establish momentum, and then reduce to weekly meetings as time passes on.

Booster Sessions and Maintenance Therapy

Booster sessions are frequently required to maintain the progress obtained in therapy. These reinforcement sessions may be required on a regular basis for the rest of your life. It’s enticing to miss these follow-up appointments, especially if you’re in good health. If you’re having trouble with this, consider the effort you put in to get to where you are now.

Just little therapy now to keep your OCD symptoms at bay will save you from having to go through more extensive therapy later. It is also incredibly useful to continue to handle stress in your life.

When OCD Is Extremely Severe

If you are having particularly severe symptoms, such as performing rituals throughout the day and being unable to leave home since your compulsions or obsessions are so intense, an intensive inpatient treatment program (which can last months) may be advised.

When OCD is severe, you will receive extensive psychotherapy via response prevention therapy and daily exposure.

Medication management and ERP are frequently used to treat OCD, and combining the two is commonly thought to be more beneficial than either alone. The combo of medication and ERP  is regarded as the first-line treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder, as per the International OCD Foundation.

According to the International OCD Foundation, 70 percent of people with the disorder will benefit through ERP, medication, or a mix of the two.

Antipsychotics and antidepressants are some of the medications used to treat OCD. Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride), Anafranil (clomipramine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Prozac (fluoxetine) are examples of FDA-approved medications for the treatment of OCD.

Doctors may propose deep brain stimulation, laser-guided brain surgery, or IV clomipramine to the thalamic tract if first-line treatments are ineffective or in severe situations.

Even though things seem to be going well, OCD has the ability to take over your day. Obsessive thinking and compulsive actions, as well as the stress that comes with them, can consume a lot of time and energy.

Although medication and counseling are the most common treatments for this lifelong ailment, self-care is a hidden weapon with a slew of additional advantages.

Food affects your emotions. When it comes to eating healthy, the most important thing is to eat it every day. Your blood sugar levels lower when you are hungry. You may become irritable or weary as a result of this. Begin with a breakfast every day, and instead of large meals at lunch and supper, attempt to eat small meals more frequently.

Consider:

  • Seeds and Nuts are high in beneficial nutrients.
  • Protein-rich foods such as beans, eggs, and meat provide a steady supply of energy, allowing you to maintain a greater sense of balance.
  • Complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, aid to maintain a constant blood sugar level.
  • Caffeine, a stimulant found in soda, coffee, tea, and energy drinks, should be avoided. It can raise your anxiety levels a notch or two.

Follow your doctor’s orders. It’s tempting to use alcohol or drugs to get rid of OCD, yet these substances are actually triggering. While it may appear that drinking alcohol reduces anxiety, it actually increases it before it exits your system. The stimulant in cigarettes, nicotine, is just the same.

Take some time to critically think about your condition. Anxiety can make sleeping difficult. Sleep, on the other hand, is critical for mental wellness. Create a sleep pattern that prepares your body for achievement, rather than waiting to lie down and float off to dreamland. Replace 10 minutes of screen time with 10 minutes of calming music or a hot bath. Reduce light and noise in your bedroom, and control the temperature to help you fall asleep and remain asleep all night.

Get moving. When you’re anxious, your body produces cortisol, which is a stress hormone. In little dosages, it’s beneficial, but in large concentrations, it’s toxic. Regular exercise lowers cortisol levels, which helps it all from your organs and bones to your readings on your weight scale.

Learn to unwind. If your body doesn’t know how to relax, it won’t. Relaxation activities such as yoga, meditation, going for a walk in the woods or drawing a painting train your body on how to be relaxed in stressful situations. Try a few to see which one suits you best, then dedicate 30 minutes each day to it.

Victories should be celebrated. It takes time to learn how to live with OCD. You’ll have accomplishments and setbacks, just like any other aim. Yes, it’s crucial to work on your OCD, but it’s also critical to take a step back and applaud the major and tiny victories you achieve along the road.

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