According to Psychology Today, OCD is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, images, and sensations (obsessions) and engage in behaviors or mental acts in response to these thoughts or obsessions. The disorder affects a reported 2.2 million American adults and thousands more who are undiagnosed.
New research has found that patients with OCD lack coping skills, and therefore have a hard time keeping their OCD under control. Because OCD is a daily, difficult and in some cases debilitating disorder, it’s important for patients with OCD to understand coping skills and how to get into a routine in order to keep their OCD at bay.
After you’ve created your list:
- Go through your list and rate how anxious you think you would be if you tried to resist your compulsions in the different situations. Rate your anxiety on a scale of 0-10, 10 being severely anxious.
- Choose one thing on the list that you think you could resist with only mild to moderate anxiety. Next time you are in that situation, try as hard as you can to resist that compulsion without giving in. Pay attention to how anxious you feel at the start, and to the way this anxiety fades over time.
- Repeat this same activity, resisting the compulsion, every time you are in that situation (at least once every day). You should notice that, with practice, it gets easier and easier to resist, because your anxiety is fading.
- Once you become more comfortable with this compulsion, choose another, slightly harder compulsion and repeat step 7. Continue until you’ve worked though all compulsions on your list.
- When you have OCD, the doubts get stronger the more you give in to them, and weaker the more you resist them, so keep resisting and keep coping!
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