how to stop ocd compulsions

Mariah Brown

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Mariah Brown

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Welcome to this comprehensive guide on how to stop OCD compulsions. Are you tired of feeling trapped by your obsessive-compulsive disorder? Do you yearn for a sense of control and freedom? You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we will explore various techniques and strategies that can help you break free from the grip of OCD and regain control over your life.

Living with OCD can be challenging, and the constant need to engage in rituals and repetitive behaviors can consume your time and energy. However, it’s important to remember that you are not alone in this struggle. As someone who has personally experienced the trials and tribulations of OCD, I understand the frustration and despair it can bring. But fear not, for I have embarked on a journey that led me to discover effective techniques to stop OCD compulsions. Now, I’m here to share those insights with you!

how to stop ocd compulsions

Understanding OCD Compulsions

OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a mental health condition characterized by recurring thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These compulsions often serve as a temporary relief from the distressing obsessions. However, they perpetuate a vicious cycle and can significantly impact your daily life, relationships, and overall well-being.

The Cycle of OCD Compulsions

OCD compulsions typically follow a predictable cycle:

  1. Obsession: You experience intrusive thoughts, doubts, or fears, which trigger anxiety and distress.
  2. Compulsion: In an attempt to alleviate the anxiety caused by the obsession, you engage in repetitive behaviors, such as cleaning, checking, or counting.
  3. Temporary Relief: The compulsive behavior provides temporary relief, reducing the anxiety and distress temporarily.
  4. Anxiety Returns: Over time, the anxiety and distress return, often stronger than before, leading to an increased dependency on compulsions.

Breaking this cycle requires a concerted effort to change your behavior and adopt strategies that address the underlying causes of OCD. Let’s delve into these techniques in the following sections.

Techniques to Stop OCD Compulsions

1. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

Exposure and Response Prevention, commonly known as ERP, is a highly effective therapeutic technique for managing OCD compulsions. It involves intentionally exposing yourself to situations or thoughts that trigger your obsessions and resisting the urge to engage in the accompanying compulsions. This gradually reduces the anxiety and weakens the link between the obsession and the compulsion.

Working with a qualified therapist who specializes in ERP can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process. They can help you create a personalized hierarchy of exposure tasks, starting with situations that trigger mild anxiety and progressing to more challenging ones.

2. Mindfulness and Acceptance

Mindfulness and acceptance play crucial roles in breaking free from OCD compulsions. Mindfulness involves observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment, allowing you to develop a greater sense of awareness and detachment from obsessive thoughts. Acceptance, on the other hand, entails acknowledging the presence of intrusive thoughts without trying to resist or control them.

Practicing mindfulness and acceptance can help you cultivate a non-reactive attitude towards your thoughts, enabling you to let go of the need to perform compulsions to relieve anxiety. Incorporating mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and grounding techniques, into your daily routine can be immensely helpful.

3. Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring involves challenging and reframing the distorted thoughts and beliefs that fuel OCD compulsions. Often, individuals with OCD engage in black-and-white thinking, catastrophizing, and overestimating the likelihood of negative outcomes. By examining the evidence and adopting a more balanced perspective, you can gradually weaken the grip of these obsessive thoughts.

Working with a therapist or using self-help resources, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) workbooks, can provide you with the tools to identify and reframe these distorted thoughts. Remember, progress takes time and patience, so be gentle with yourself throughout this process.

Table Breakdown: Techniques to Stop OCD Compulsions

Technique Description
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) A therapeutic technique that involves facing and resisting OCD triggers without performing compulsions.
Mindfulness and Acceptance Developing awareness and acceptance of intrusive thoughts without engaging in compulsive behaviors.
Cognitive Restructuring Challenging and reframing distorted thoughts that fuel OCD compulsions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I stop OCD compulsions on my own?

While self-help strategies can be beneficial, seeking professional help from a therapist experienced in treating OCD is often recommended for the most effective results.

2. Is medication an effective treatment option for OCD?

Antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are often utilized alongside therapy to manage OCD symptoms. Consult with a psychiatrist to determine if medication is appropriate for you.

3. How long does it take to see improvements with these techniques?

Progress varies from person to person, but with consistent practice and dedication, individuals can start experiencing positive changes in their OCD symptoms within a few weeks to a few months.

4. What should I do if the anxiety gets overwhelming during exposure exercises?

If the anxiety becomes too overwhelming, it’s crucial to reach out to your therapist or mental health professional for support and guidance. They can help you navigate the challenges and ensure your well-being throughout the process.

5. Can OCD be completely cured?

OCD is a chronic condition, but treatment can significantly reduce its impact on your life. Many individuals achieve substantial symptom relief and regain control over their thoughts and behaviors.

6. Are there any support groups for people with OCD?

Yes! Support groups, both online and in-person, can provide a sense of community, understanding, and guidance. Check with local mental health organizations or search online for OCD-specific support groups.

7. Should I disclose my OCD diagnosis to friends and family?

Disclosing your diagnosis is a personal decision. It can be helpful to share your experiences with loved ones who can offer support and understanding. However, be selective in choosing whom to confide in and consider seeking guidance from a therapist before making this decision.

8. Can stress and lifestyle factors worsen OCD symptoms?

Yes, stress and certain lifestyle factors, such as poor sleep, unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise, can contribute to increased OCD symptoms. Prioritizing self-care and adopting healthy coping mechanisms can help manage these factors.

9. What is the role of professional therapy in treating OCD?

Therapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention (ERP), plays a crucial role in the treatment of OCD. It provides guidance, support, and evidence-based techniques to help individuals overcome their compulsions and alleviate their distress.

10. Are there any alternative therapies for OCD?

While cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered the gold standard treatment for OCD, some individuals find other approaches, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness-based therapies, and alternative treatments like acupuncture and yoga, helpful in managing their symptoms. Consult with a qualified therapist to explore available options and determine the best fit for your needs.


Congratulations on taking the first step towards stopping OCD compulsions and regaining control over your life! By implementing the techniques discussed in this article, such as exposure and response prevention, mindfulness and acceptance, and cognitive restructuring, you can foster profound changes in your relationship with OCD. Remember, progress may be gradual, but with perseverance and support, you can overcome the challenges and live a fulfilling life free from the chains of OCD.

For further information and resources on managing OCD, feel free to explore the links below:

Remember, you are not alone in your journey. With the right tools, support, and determination, you can triumph over OCD and reclaim your life. Wishing you strength and success!

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