A term that sometimes gets thrown around loosely, “OCD” or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is defined by a pattern of unwanted thoughts or fears that lead to repetitive behaviors. Although many mistakenly think over organizing or over-cleaning are signs of OCD, true OCD is much more complicated than such behaviors. Suffering from this mental illness can be distressing and lead to anxiety. You might think it is easy to ignore the thought of what is bothersome; however, these thoughts are often intrusive and interfere with the daily activities of those who suffer from OCD. The thoughts are often obsessive and recurring, leading to an almost vicious cycle that becomes hard to break. There are a wide variety of obsessions some examples of the most common ones include the fear of germs, fear of doing things wrong, unwanted thoughts of hurting others, unwanted thoughts of a sexual nature, and even the need of wanting things to be “just right.”Approximately 2.3% of the world population is affected by a serious anxiety-related condition. That is about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children. The average age of onset is about 19.5 years old, and most of the early onset cases are males.If you or your loved one have recently been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, you are not alone. Here at Dr. Messina & Associates, located in Southlake, TX, we take pride in our committed care to our patients. We offer psychiatric care for those who need medical evaluations and treatment. Our facility is equipped with highly trained professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and counselors.


Understanding Anxiety and OCD

It is important to understand the symptoms and facts about anxiety. Understanding the facts will allow you to manage the effects, which in turn will allow you to have a more balanced lifestyle.

You must first understand that anxiety is a normal and adaptive system that tells your body when you are in danger. We want to manage the excessive anxiety, not get rid of it entirely. Anxiety only becomes an issue when our mind and body are alerting us when there is no real or imminent danger. The first step to recognizing the root cause of your worries and fears is realizing it is stemming from anxiety.

OCD is driven by the fear of the consequences, no matter how unlikely the outcome may be. The thoughts themselves are not the issue, is what the thoughts are made to be is the root of the problem. Such thoughts and fears create a spike in their anxiety levels.


How to Manage Your OCD Compulsions

Inform Yourself

It is important to fill yourself with as much information as possible. This will be your guide on managing your disorder on a day-to-day basis. Learning how your brain functions when someone suffers from OCD can give you a better perspective and help you understand it is not just “all in your head.”

Sometimes listening or reading others’ stories can be encouraging to help you better cope with your disorder. There are podcasts such as The OCD Stories on YouTube, where people like you share their stories and struggles while living with OCD on a day-to-day basis.

If you are under the care of a healthcare professional, you may want to take notes! You may also gather further information and advice from your therapist or psychiatrist. They can provide you with knowledge and useful advice which allows you to better understand your disorder and heal in the process. You will not only use their advice in the therapy room, but you will take this information with you everywhere you go.

Practice Self-Care

Self-care can entail many activities such as a healthier sleeping routine, better eating habits, exercising often, journaling, and even taking supplements. Changing outdated habits can be beneficial to our health as it can feel like a rebooting effect on our bodies. The following activities are not only helpful for OCD patients. They are also helpful for anyone who suffers from anxiety or looking to elevate their health and well-being.

  • Exercise– Research shows that consistent exercising is beneficial and key to improving existing OCD treatment and great at reducing OCD symptoms.
  • Meditation– An activity known to calm your mind and regulate your breathing; can be beneficial on your journey with managing OCD. It may help you with the process of letting go of unwanted thoughts.
  • Supplements-If you are vitamin deficient, consider taking high-quality multi-vitamins. Certain Vitamin deficiencies can alter your mood, such as Vitamin D.
  • Journaling– Writing down your thoughts, fears, and anxieties is a great way to channel your emotions. Research shows writing is a method that can help you improve anxiety and mental distress.

Seek Professional Help

OCD is not always easy to manage and can sometimes interfere with day-to-day activities and personal life. If you feel like your OCD symptoms affect your quality of life, you should consider seeking professional help. A professional therapist will be able to help you deal with the symptoms of OCD using therapies called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy.

Seeking professional help will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of your condition, and how to manage symptoms.

It is important to understand your symptoms, as they are real and they should not be taken lightly. You should not delay treatment, especially if they interfere with your daily and personal life. If you or your loved one suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you are not alone.

Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate psychiatrists are qualified to help patients of all ages and needs. If you or your loved one is seeking help, either for depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric health issues, we can help. In addition, our team of caring professionals can work with you as we specialize in anxiety and depression in children and adolescents and provide psychological and psychiatric services in-person and online.

In-person appointments are available in our DFW (Southlake) Offices. Online counseling appointments are available to patients throughout the state of Texas.

AUTHOR: Dr. Michael Messina