Real Choices to Stop OCD
Asking “How to stop OCD?” is simple. Unfortunately getting a simple and easy to understand answers is not. Obsessive thought patterns are complex issues resisting simply techniques and categorizations. Those suffering from OCD have a nervous system that has become trapped in a vicious loop impervious to logic, will power and often medication.
To stop OCD, one must get past the illusion that distracting disruptive thoughts with certain activities or rituals will provide relief. It’s temporary and the cycle always returns. Staying busy may keep the person preoccupied, but only perpetuates the cycle. As soon as the person relaxes and lets down their guard the obsessions come flooding back in.
You don’t stop OCD by distracting yourself. You stop OCD by working on the real issues, the underlining drivers keeping the person stuck. Unfortunately these don’t always make sense to those who are trying to avoid emotional discomfort. Many are under the impression it is a disease. That’s understandable, since no one intentionally chooses to have unwanted or disturbing ideas. No one purposely chooses to be at odds with their thoughts or feelings.
There is an ongoing debate as to why the neurology of certain people creates obsessive and intrusive thought patterns. At this time there is no definitive or clear cut scientific reason that adequately explains the onset of OCD. In the past genetics and chemical imbalances have been common explanations, even though plenty of experts disagree with these assumptions or realize they are best inadequate and partial rationalizations.
Then what is OCD?
Plain and simple, OCD is a disorder. It’s right in the name, obsessive compulsive disorder; meaning an imbalance exists in the system of the mind or body. A portion of the persons thought or emotional processing abilities are conflicting with other internal processes. The system is out of sync with itself. The person is caught up in their own neurological civil war. These confrontations can create such intense stress, some will no longer trust their own judgments.
Many who want to stop OCD assume an illness and a disorder to be the same thing. They’re not. There is no OCD virus or OCD gene. These simple one dimensional ideas, while desirable by those seeking simple answers are inadequate. For those who wonder why there is no cure for OCD, the answer is simple; it is not an illness. To improve mental health, to stop OCD and effectively expand emotional well being, require other perspectives.
How can you make changes in yourself to stop OCD?
Complex anxiety disorders such as OCD can be viewed as a set of coping mechanisms which have been pushed to such an extreme, they no longer support the person. Their emotional or cognitive limitations have exceeded certain stress thresholds. When a system gets maxed out, communications begin to break down. For those with OCD, internal communications have become counter productive. Thoughts and feelings begin to feed into themselves. Meaningful or productive solutions and perspectives are overlooked. What the person experiences is continuous cycle of undesired ideas.
[box] Most people with OCD are aware their obsessions increase with stress. These people may always have been susceptible to certain sensitivities, creating a perception of the world that doesn’t match the norm. Thus their coping skills to adapt to certain stresses have developed differently, making the individuals prone to certain types of anxieties.[/box]
One way for the subconscious mind to deal with an overloaded nervous system is to create an emergency coping mechanism; the obsessions. The old way of coping with stress and life events have failed the person and without alternative choice, obsessions help divert attention away from the real stresses the person has not found a way to cope with.
While effective, it is a faulty approach, since OCD severely limits choice. The person’s focus gets stuck on a meaningless, yet discomforting illusion part of them already realizes is not true. That is not an illness, but an internal processing ability and it can be changed. This is not always an easy concept to wrap ones head around. It most certainly is not as convenient of an idea as hereditary or being an illness. The real question is how do you stop OCD.
To stop OCD, the ideal situation is:
- The person realizes they have a problem. People tend not to change if they don’t see a reason for it. For many, the reason only comes to fruition when the pain becomes unbearable and they feel they have to make it stop. This is when most people seek help. Even then, they don’t really want to confront deeper issues
- The person is open to making changes in themselves. Most people with OCD tend to rigidly hold on to the things they know. Those who hold on tightly to the ideas of how they want things to be have difficulty letting go so things can be different
- The person is willing to participate in the change process
- The person has realistic expectations for making change. Many with OCD are impulsive, they want immediate change. They want what they want when they want it.
- The person works with someone who can help them embrace their sensitivities and sticking points. Someone who will help them work through needed areas of change in a way they can accept and understand.
For those with obsessive thoughts, this is often asking a lot. They want to change but already deal with internal conflicts and overwhelm. These are underlining considerations for those seeking OCD treatment. The best choice is a therapist who will provide a dynamic environment allowing the needed steps to be achieved with minimal discomfort, yet be adaptable enough to guide the client out of their zone of familiarity
Simple cut and dry answers don’t usually work for complex situations
To be in disorder or to have a disorder, means change is required in the system; some aspects of the person will benefit from readjustment or restructuring. For unwanted thinking patterns, this means the awareness levels, processing abilities, strategies and communications channels of thoughts, emotions and behaviors need modification to become more effective, at least in certain places.
That idea can be scary for those with OCD. Many have a strong dislike of the unknown and are used to holding on to what they are familiar with. Yet this should be a comforting approach to embrace. It opens the possibility of stopping the tiresome battles of will power or self control, the feelings of hopelessness and being victim to ones own mind. The idea of being dependent to medication for the rest of their life can begin to slip away. Accepting OCD as a disorder, which allows for the person to restructure themselves makes it easier to accept the needed treatment for change and reconditioning.
But I Can’t Change
But then again, maybe you can. Most certainly no one will stop their OCD by giving up. Trying is only half the journey. When the mind is overloaded, even the simplest of ideas can seem overwhelming. Solutions are not found staying in discomfort.
It’s not that a person can’t change, but their way of perceiving certain ideas or problems prevents them from understanding, accepting or interpreting what needs to change. These set patterns also have a strong connection to the emotional centers of the mind. Many studies have shown thought patterns and even the chemical composition of the mind change when thoughts are redesigned to effectively create solutions, when mindfulness is introduced and people are able to release negative emotions and make new neurological associations. The key to overcoming OCD is making sure the emotional aspects of the thought patterns become part of the change process. If not addressed, trying to stop OCD can be difficult.
97% is enough change
The field of epigenics has discovered that only about 3% of our DNA is set in stone. The other 97% is changeable. Thought patterns are always changeable. Emotional patterns are changeable. One way to stop OCD is to work on those things that can change. When ideas are locked in with no way out, some structural process of the persons thinking pattern needs to change. It may not be what the person wants to change, but given the alternative, it is a small price to pay.
At Designed Thinking we have been helping clients stop OCD, adequately diminishing its effects and doing so without the use of medication. Taking action can be scary, but to change, some form of action must be taken. Call the toll free number 866-718-9995 or leave a comment below.