Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder where a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. OCD is a chronic illness that can require lifelong management. Like other chronic illnesses, living with OCD requires courage, support from friends, family, and co-workers, as well as strong partnerships with your doctor and mental health professional. Learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of OCD.
7 Tips for Living with OCD
1. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
It can be tempting to use alcohol and drugs to escape OCD, but you’re better off sticking with your prescriptions. Drinking alcohol might feel like it helps your anxiety, but it creates more before it leaves your system. The same goes for nicotine, the stimulant in cigarettes.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Anxiety can cause sleep problems, but it’s important to get enough sleep for good mental health. To increase your chances of a good night’s sleep, create a sleep routine that sets you up for success. Instead of staring at a screen before going to bed, listen to relaxing music, or take a warm bath. Make sure your room is dark and the temperature is cool, which helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.
When you feel anxious, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which is helpful in small doses but harmful at high levels. Regular exercise keeps your cortisol levels in check, controls your weight, and can improve your overall sense of wellbeing.
4. Take Your Meds
It’s important to take the right dose at the right time. If you forget to take it or decide to skip a dose, your symptoms could return. If side effects become an issue or you’re considering taking a new over-the-counter medication or vitamin, talk with your doctor first.
5. Seek Support
If you’re feeling anxious, don’t hold it in. Talk with someone. Whether it’s your doctor, a therapist, or a support group, you can find help from people who understand your condition.
6. Learn to Relax
Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, walking in nature, or drawing a picture can help teach your body what it feels like to be calm. Find what works for you and try to spend at least 30 minutes a day on it.
7. Celebrate Victories
Learning how to live with OCD isn’t easy and it takes time. Along the way, you’ll have successes and setbacks. Make sure to take time to celebrate your progress.
Learn More About OCD Management with Baptist Health
By practicing the tips described above you can learn how to live better with OCD. If you need additional support, make sure to talk with your doctor. Connect with a Baptist Health behavioral health provider if you have questions about OCD management.
Useful Resources and Next Steps: