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Coping Strategies for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Before listing some coping strategies for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, I think it’s important to go into a little bit more depth about what OCD is, as well as provide you with some data. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) says, “OCD affects 2.2 million adults, or 1.0% of the U.S. population”. According to BeyondOCD.org, 1 in 40 adults have OCD, and 1 in 100 children have OCD.

BeyondOCD.org continues by defining the condition, “OCD is characterized by obsessions and compulsions that take up at least an hour a day – but usually longer – and cause significant distress,” and, “Individuals who have OCD feel compelled to perform repetitive actions called compulsions, or rituals, in an attempt to relieve the distress caused by the obsessions.”

Below, find five coping strategies for OCD:

Practice Deep Breathing. Breathe in (through the nose) for a count of eight seconds, and out (through the mouth) for a count of five seconds.

Utilize your rational brain by choosing five random numbers, saying them in your head or out loud. Do this & make sure you’re deep breathing, too. Repeat these numbers for three rotations, or until calm.

Do something physical, such as running, doing jumping jacks, or hitting a punching bag.

Journaling can be helpful, because when you get thoughts on paper/organize them, they are not bouncing around in your brain as much.

Work to distance/distract yourself from those unwanted, exhausting thoughts by doing something you enjoy. Watch TV, do some yoga, or read a book!

I do hope you find that these coping strategies work well for you! Lastly, the University of Florida Department of Psychiatry says, “Behavior therapy helps people learn to change their thoughts and feelings by first changing their behavior. Behavior therapy for OCD involves exposure and response prevention (E/RP)”. I would encourage you to consider looking into therapy and/or medication to supplement the coping strategies listed above. Please, please do not suffer in silence.

Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates is a St Louis mental health therapy practice in Creve Coeur, Missouri. The practice has a team of mental health therapists who provide therapy and counseling services to kids, teens, adults, couples, and families. Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates specializes in stress, anxiety, depression, relationships, and other mental health related issues and concerns. The practice can be reached by phone at: 314-942-1147, by email at: bryan@stlmentalhealth.com or on the web at: www.STLmentalhealth.com. The office is located at: 655 Craig Road, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63141.