People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have obsessive thoughts that invokes a compulsion to do an act or ritual. Managing these thoughts with out aid may provoke a stronger obsessive thought and/or compulsion. This article is intended to be and aid only.
The only way to effectively manage OCD is to correctly be diagnosed and be under supervision of a mental health professional.
The simplest way to try and manage an obsessive thought is not to dwell on it. It may be simple, to the person with OCD this is actually a chore and very difficult to attempt.
For some, getting rid of the thoughts creates anxiety because the compulsion gets put on hold and results in a stronger compulsion at the next time the obsessive thought resurfaces. Not dwelling on the obsessive thought can be effective, if done properly.
Thoughts are Just Thoughts
When an obsessive thought surfaces, or many at once, dont apprehend over it. Try to rationalize that the thought is embellished and is not part of reality. Generally the panic created over the obsession is the causing factor to the anxiety.
Try to disregard the fear over the obsession no matter how overwhelming it is. Once the fear is discounted, the obsessive thought then befalls a managing level. Fear is the difference between normal thoughts and obsessive ones. The alarm created by an obsessive thought (to an extreme) may be washing of the hands until the start to bleed for fear that the germs will harm them.
This leads into another managing technique. Discover the source of the fear, once discovered; analyze it to break it down into a manageable level to control the obsessive thought.
Red Light, Green Light
When the obsessive thought is at a manageable level, try to imagine a stop light as a signal to begin a managing technique. Since most obsessive thoughts are damaging, the stop light could serve as the indicator to think of a constructive thought instead.
Instead of washing ones hands until they bleed, wash them once and then praise yourself for completing the task of ridding the germs. Although this appears to be replacing one compulsion for another, it is not as severe or destructive. The main difference is that the praising oneself is constructive and not as destructive to point of bleeding hands.
Challenging Fear with Rationality
It is important to confront disparaging thoughts with encouraging statements and common sense thinking. Does washing ones hands until they bleed actually make them more sanitary? Common sense says no, it actually creates an access for germs to enter the body more easily. So wash ones hands once and pronounce that the germs are now gone and the risks of infection or sickness are now quashed.
The best way to help oneself in working on managing obsessive thoughts is to maintain a notebook and document them. When capable, devise ways to manage the obsessive thought and try different ways when one does not work until a satisfactory solution is found.
Never quit trying to overcome the disparaging OCD symptoms, if you do not succeed, try, try again.