How to Manage OCDIs obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) a struggle? Or know someone who has been diagnosed with it? There have been many historical figures who have struggled with OCD, including Albert Einstein, Martin Luther, Ludwig van Beethoven, Charles Dickens, and Marie Curie. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about two percent of the population suffers from OCD today. However, there is hope for those who struggle. God hears, sees, and answers those who call on Him. Psalm 34:17 says, “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.” Here are eight ways to manage OCD.

1. Education.
OCD happens when someone struggles with obsessive thoughts and compulsions that are recurring and unwanted.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Disturbing and unwanted thoughts
  • Fear of contamination, illnesses, disease
  • Excessive handwashing
  • Hoarding
  • Excessive cleaning

2. Evaluation.
The first—and the most important—step to getting help for OCD is to reach out to a doctor or mental health care professional and ask to be evaluated. Work with a doctor to get a correct diagnosis and treatment plan.

3. Medication.
Although there is still a stigma surrounding using medication for mental health, remember that taking medication does not mean someone is weak or is not trusting God. In fact, for many people struggling with OCD, taking medication is brave. Talk with a doctor or mental health care professional about a medication that might help.

4. Relaxation.
OCD manifests in diverse ways and is caused by many triggers. But one of those triggers is stress. If stress is a factor, try relaxing regularly. An effective way to relax is to take regular breaks throughout the day to breathe deeply, listen to music, meditate on a Bible verse, or spend time with a pet.

5. Rest.
Without a doubt, having OCD can make getting enough sleep challenging. And not getting enough sleep can make OCD symptoms even more severe the next day.

Tips to get a good night’s sleep:

  • Stop using electronics an hour before bed.
  • Exercise during the day.
  • Use natural sleep aids and supplements.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time.

6. Acceptance.
Managing OCD symptoms, such as unwanted thoughts, happens through acceptance. Trying to not think about pink elephants doesn’t make a person stop thinking about them—it makes a person think about pink elephants even more. So, instead of suppressing thoughts or feeling ashamed, be curious and show self-compassion.

7. Journaling.
Writing in a journal is one of the best ways to pay attention to the present moment without judgment. By learning to observe thoughts and feelings with curiosity and compassion, individuals can reduce their reactivity and increase their ability to tolerate discomfort without giving in to urges.

8. Counseling.
Seeing a counselor empowers a person with OCD to learn to confront their obsessions while resisting urges. According to the International OCD Foundation, up to 80 percent of individuals with OCD who receive treatment experience significant improvement.

If you or a loved one needs help with OCD, please know we are here! Call us at 800-NEW-LIFE to find a licensed Christian counselor to help you.

by Kimberlee Bousman

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