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Thoughts on Anxiety Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is an anxiety disorder and many of those that suffer from it realise that their obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour is irrational but they feel unable to stop them. The symptoms may come and go, but often they get worse at times of stress.

Many of us occasionally go back to the home to check that the iron is unplugged or the back door is locked, but when Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is involved this type of behaviour becomes excessive and it interferes with our day-to-day life.

A step on the way to dealing with OCD is to deal with your anxiety and level of stress. If your lifestyle is unhealthy and stressful you are really likely to feel anxious. When you recognise that stress is starting to take over it is time to think about how you can bring your life back into balance. Maybe you can give up some responsibilities or get others to take some of the strain. Try to find somebody you trust to confide in as just talking about your concerns can make them less frightening.

Here are some tips to help with your anxiety, stress and OCD:

  • It is important to keep a network of family and friends for support.
  • Ensure you get enough sleep as lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety.
  • Practice some relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing and yoga.
  • Get plenty of exercise, aim for about an hour of aerobic exercise on most days.
  • Cut down on caffeine and sugar. Caffeine can increase anxiety, interfere with sleep patterns and may even cause panic attacks. Sugar causes your blood sugar to increase and then crash which leaves you more drained than before.
  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine. Many people use alcohol to reduce worry, but as the effects wear off it can cause anxiety symptoms. Smoking cigarettes lead to higher, not lower, levels of anxiety as many people believe.
  • Recognise that any obsessive thoughts are the result of OCD and realise that the intensity of the thought is caused by the OCD.
  • When you have an OCD thought focus your attention on something else, if only for a few minutes. Do something else if at all possible.

Remember, everyone has good days and bad days – just keep working with your relaxation techniques and with your counsellor if you have one. Take things a step at a time………..

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