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How to Stop OCD Rituals

written by: Debbie Roome • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 4/19/2011

Obsessive compulsive disorder is comprised of obsessions and compulsions that are performed as repetitive behaviors. Read on to learn how to stop OCD rituals.

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    How to Stop Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors

    OCD rituals are repetitive behaviors that a person feels compelled to perform. They fear that a disaster will unfold if they do not regularly enact these rituals, even if they know this is illogical. Here are some tips and advice for people who are wanting to learn how to stop OCD rituals but feel powerless to do so:

    • People with OCD can do a number of things to help themselves but should also be willing to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or any other kind of therapy recommended by their doctor. The results of self help and professional input can bring great relief to an OCD sufferer.
    • Knowledge is an essential tool to overcoming OCD. A person whose life is ruled by obsessions and compulsions will benefit from reading about their condition and knowing that they are not unique or on their own. Understanding OCD allows a sufferer to find hope and also to make a focused plan of how to overcome their problematic behaviors.
    • OCD support groups can be invaluable in providing resources and back-up to people as they struggle to win the battle over obsessions and compulsions. Because they understand the person’s difficulties, they are able to help them through rough patches and encourage them as they take steps towards recovery.
    • OCD can be an isolating condition as people seek to hide their behavior from family and friends. It is important to stay connected to friends and family and avoid being alone.
    • CBT works on the thought processes behind OCD and also the actual behaviors. A therapist can teach a person how to change the way they think, but for this to be long lasting and successful, the person needs to practice it continually. It may be hard work at first but as they persist, the new thought patterns will become more natural.
    • The OCD person can make an effort to ignore obsessive thoughts by focusing on something else. This could be a pleasurable activity or they can leave the room and engage themselves in a distracting behavior that they enjoy.
    • It can be helpful for a person with OCD to confront their greatest fear such as touching the doors in public restrooms, eating takeout food or leaving the house without checking repeatedly that the door is locked. In the beginning, they may need their therapist with them to guide them through the correct behaviors and to offer support when their need to engage in the compulsive behavior becomes overwhelming.
    • Family therapy can also be an important step in stopping OCD rituals. OCD affects everyone living in a household with a sufferer and therapy can defuse tension as well as teach family members how to stop enabling their loved one. They can do this by not providing time for them to perform rituals and not making allowances so the person can count, order, clean or hoard.

    Many people wonder how to stop OCD rituals. It is normally a process that takes place over months or years and for it to be most successful, family, friends and health professionals should be involved. There is help available and with effort, people can overcome the problems of OCD rituals.

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    References

    Help Guide: http://helpguide.org/mental/obsessive_compulsive_disorder_ocd.htm

    Coping with OCD by Bruce M Hyman and Troy Dufrene, New Harbinger Publications, 2008